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BUSH Percy Frank - Born Cardiff, 23 June 1879; died Cardiff 19 May 1955

Career: Penygraig, UC Cardiff, Cardiff, London Welsh, Nantes, Glamorgan,  

WALES (Half Back, 8 caps 1905 - 1910)

BRITISH ISLES 1904 to NZ & Australia 4 caps

Prior to the 1905 game with the All Blacks

Percy Bush was regarded by many in his time as a superb rugby genius - quite the most amazing running fly half in the period prior to World War I. But he only gained eight caps for Wales .

He had supreme self-confidence and was totally un-predictable. He was capable of leaving a trail of opponents bewildered and motionless by his audacious ability to do the unexpected. He could side-step, dodge, swerve, sell 'dummies' or stop dead while running at full pace. Even his critics and there were many felt that on his great days he was able to elude the opposition at will.

Percy Bush could also kick very well. He dropped many goals and was an extremely accurate touch finder.  Bush first appeared for Cardiff in November, 1899, but he did not establish himself as the regular fly half until the 1902/3 season (partly due to inijury). And even at the beginning of the next season, he was not anautomatic choIce for the club. However, by December, 1903, Bush had really established himself in a half-back partnership with R.J.A. David, which fed a back division which included many stars. The Barbarians were hammered 41-3!

Bush was selected for the 1904 ‘British' tour of the Antipodes which included several of Wales 's best backs. It was on tour that Percy Bush built a legend as the greatest half-back to ever visit Australasia . On tour he scored 104 points made up of 12 tries, 8 drop goals, 4 penalty goals and 12 conversions - in just one game he got 17 points!

His greatest effort though was reserved for the New Zealand test, when the British team were outgunned up front and fell apart badly in the second half. However, Bush played superbly in attack and defence and kept his side in the game almost single-handed until very late on.

But due to an accident on his return from the successful tour, Bush only played a couple of games during 1904/5. He was elected as captain of the Cardiff club for the 1905/6 season and it had an incredible season, losing only once (to the All Blacks). Bush was selected for Wales against the All Blacks, who were wary of Bush's running, and so the

Welsh backs devised their 'secret move' using the fly half as a decoy. After 23 minutes the move was initiated, which enabled Morgan to go over in the corner for the decisive score. 

Ten days later Bush faced the All Blacks again, captaining his club, and made a mistake that was always to haunt him. At five-all he followed back behind his own line a harmless kick-on. He had plenty of time to kill the ball. One New Zealand forward, forlornly followed up. Tragically, Bush waited too long before suddenly attempting to kick dead and the ball slid off his foot. The grateful chaser leapt on the ball for a try which was converted. Although Bush attacked brilliantly for the rest of the game, Cardiff only scored another uncoverted try. Many have said the error was due to Bush's over-confidence' and arrogance.

A year later the situation was reversed when Bush and Owen completely failed against the visiting Springboks for Wales (losing 11-0) , but in atrocious, wet conditions, Bush led Cardiff in smashing the tourists by 17 points to nil.

In 1907 Bush and David were called up to face Ireland and Bush, with a partner who understood him, played brilliantly, having a hand in all the six tries scored. Wales won by 29 points to nil. All this after being in bed for a week, laid low with his recurring quinsy! He apparently got up on the morning of the match, had oysters for breakfast, and just went to play. Although Bush was picked and played well in 1908 and 1910 for Wales he was never to be the favoured choice and soon after emigrated to Nantes in France . There he carried on playing and once scored 54 points in one match, as well as becoming Vice-Consul in the town!

But Percy Bush's legend of brilliance on the field, and outrageous comic wit off the field, will always remain part of Welsh rugby folk-lore. Even if he did lose as well as win matches!

Information adapted from "Who's Who of Welsh International Rugby Players" by Jenkins, Pierce & Auty & "A Century of Welsh Rugby Players by Wayne Thomas 

 

Adrian Hadley was a powerful wing who made his Cardiff debut in 1983. He soon grew to become a favourite of the Arms Park crowd and was a prolific try scorer, scoring 26 tries in his first season and helping the capital club to a cup final win in 1984. Making his debut for Wales against Romania in 1983 he gained a total of 27 caps & scored 9 tries for Wales including 2 in the Triple Crown victory over England in 1988. Perhaps his most notable try came in the dying minutes of the 1987 Rugby World Cup 3/4 play off match against Australia where his corner touchdown allowed Paul Thorburn the opportunity to slot the winning conversion. He gained one non cap appearance for a  Welsh XV in 1983 against  Japan in which he also scored a try and he also made several appearances for the Barbarians. Hadley turned professional just after the Triple Crown success in 1988 with northern giants Salford. After making his debut against Warrington in September of that year he went on to represent Wales in the thirteen man code. He returned to union as a successful player coach with another Manchester side, the Sale Sharks, after helping steer them to a cup final appearance he was later made the director of rugby at the club. 

 

JENKINS, John Charles (Jack) - Born Newbridge, 19 April 1880 ; died Hounslow, winter 1971

Career: Long Ashton School , Bristol ; Royal Military College , Sandhurst ; Mountain Ash; London Welsh; Newport ; Newbridge; Rosslyn Park ; Barbarians; Middlesex; Monmouthshire, WALES (Forward in 1 match, against: South Africa, 1906)

Jack Jenkins was commissioned into the South Wales Borderers at the age of eighteen. In 1903, he resigned from the Army, took an accountancy course and three years later joined the newly formed Territorial Army (Monmouthshire Regiment). He was promoted to Major in 1911 and, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, commanded the 2nd Bn Monmouthshire Regiment in

France in 1915. In 1905 he played for Middlesex against New Zealand and, the following year, appeared for both Middlesex and Monmouthshire (captain) against South Africa . While with Newport he dropped four goals in one season, playing at forward or, occasionally, at centre. He made 200 appearances for London Welsh, captaining them in 1910-11. When winning his one cap for Wales he was handicapped with a septic hand. A great friend of Boxer Harding, he was asked to join the Anglo-Welsh tour to Australia in 1908 but personal commitments did not allow him to go. While serving on the ,Middlesex

Committee, he was involved in the negotiations for the purchase of the Twickenham ground. In 1926, aged 46, he played his fifty-third and final game for Middlesex, while his son, C R Jenkins, a medical student, played in his first game for the county. His son played for Bart's, Northampton , North of Ireland Football Club (captain 1933-34), Middlesex and for Ulster against the 1931 Springboks. Jack Jenkins married Helena, the sister of Leigh Richmond Roose, the Welsh soccer international. He contributed a chapter, ' Wales Past and Present” to “Rugby Football Up To Date”, written by E H D Sewell and published in 1921.  

Included in this chapter is a short passage on his time while playing for Newport. 

" This introduction of the Rhondda element revolutionised Welsh forward play and the result was soon apparent in the play of the big clubs. Newport from 1900-05 had very fine sides but Swansea had better ones, the latter going through one season undefeated and during another only losing once to Newport. I played in that game, which we won by a dropped goal, scored in the first few minutes, to nil. For the remainder of the match we could not get out of our 25. Trew, Gordon Rees, Geo. Davies, Arnold with Owen and Jones, tried every move on the board to get a score. Once Arnold was through and over the line, when Adams came from nowhere and fairly carried the little wing and ball into touch in goal. Never before or since have I felt more thankful when the final whistle went. I shalI always remember that game as the hardest I ever took part in, and to-day I carry the remains of a ‘cauliflower' ear as it’s result."  

Information adapted from "Who's Who of Welsh International Rugby Players" by Jenkins, Pierce & Auty.

JOHN PHILLIPS 'JACK' JONES

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WILF WOOLLER 

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