The man recognised as Wales’s “foremost rugby statistician and historian” is publishing a new book about every game Wales have ever played to celebrate the 130 anniversary of Welsh international rugby. Howard Evans, regularly writing in newspapers and WRU programmes is a renowned statistician, but his real talent is the way he brings alive the facts and figures, and in his new book called Welsh International Matches he tells the story of every match Wales have ever played, from the first game at Blackheath in 1881 to the Six Nations in 2011.
John Griffiths, one of the greatest-ever rugby statisticians, said: “Howard Evans, who has succeeded John Billot as Wales’s foremost rugby statistician and historian, has the rare gift of bringing alive the facts and figures of our national game in a book which I commend to all followers of the game.”
Welsh International Matches runs chronologically and includes the story and statistics of every game Wales have ever played, including World Cups and Non Championship matches – it’s certain to settle the odd disagreement about who did what in Welsh international rugby. It includes the details of every player, date, venue, scorers and referee at each match. The introduction is by James Hook and he’s excited to be included in 52 out of the total of 621 Welsh games: “It’s wonderful to be able to go back in time and read of the great Welsh players of the 1800s and 1900s and when we did beat New Zealand! A book such as this has a great place in Welsh sporting history and I hope that young boys starting out today will be just as enthralled to read of today’s players as well as those from earlier eras.”
Howard Evans said: “It is a big thrill to be able to continue the wonderful work started by the late John Billot and I must thank Y Lolfa wholeheartedly for given me that opportunity. Rugby, and Welsh Rugby in particular, has played a big part in my life from my early childhood onwards and the thrill I get at reading the pre-war years is just as great now as it was over 60 years ago."
Some facts from Welsh International Matches:
Did you know?... During the last twelve years, since the 1999 World Cup:
Wales won the 6-Nations, Triple Crown and Grand Slam TWICE.
Gareth Thomas (and now Stephen Jones) were the only players to make 100 appearances.
Gareth Thomas reached 40 tries but Shane Williams then reached 50.
Neil Jenkins became top points-scorer and later passed 1,000 points.
Ryan Jones caught Ieuan Evans as the most games as captain of Wales.
No Welshman was red-carded, but three opponents were, all in Cardiff.
The Quinnell family provided the first instance of a father and TWO sons being capped.
13 players scored debut tries, but Tom Shanklin and George North scored two each.
Wales had nine coaches in 11 years, though four were caretakers.
Warren Gatland overtook Alan Davies as coach of most games for Wales.
2000 - Scott Quinnell (v Italy) scored the 1st Welsh try for 205 minutes.
2000 - James Griffiths (v Samoa) was yellow-carded after just 21 seconds on the field.
2001 - Foot and Mouth postponed the Ireland match.
2001 - In Wales's 500th match (v Japan), Tom Shanklin scored four tries.
2002 - Michael Owen (v South Africa) became the 1,000th Wales cap.
2003 - Colin Charvis was voted ahead of Saddam Hussein and 2nd only to Osama bin Laden as the most-hated man in Wales.
2004 - The 98-0 win over Japan at Cardiff was the highest-ever in a Wales home match.
2005 - The first Wales Grand Slam for 27 years.
2006 - The Wales captain (Gareth Thomas) burst a blood vessel in his neck after a television debate.
2007 - Colin Charvis became the first Wales forward to score 20 tries.
2009 - The 600th Wales test was played in Chicago.
2010 - Tom Prydie became the youngest Wales cap at 18 yrs 27 days. He beat the 1888 record of Cecil Biggs by 23 days.