They became famous names in Welsh rugby, but what did they do before choosing to play the sport for a living?
Some of those listed below rose to heights with Wales and the British and Irish Lions.
But the positions he held at the beginning of his working life, from postmen to masons, are little known.
We take a look at their stories.
Lee Byrne (Apprentice Carpenter and Joiner, Cable Cutter and Forklift Operator)
The former Wales and Lions full-back with the idea of joining forces.
In the fitness test, candidates had to complete a one and a half mile run in less than 10 minutes and thirty seconds.
Byron completed it in six minutes and 30 seconds.
Fauji took him aside and asked if he wanted to join Paras. He was tempted, but chose to return home, working as a cushion filling in a furniture company.
His father then got him an apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner.
For 18 months he worked in London, worked at the Plaza Hotel, and traveled across the continent to places such as Prague, Munich, Paris, and Rome. Of his experiences in London, he says in his book The Bayern Identity: “I loved it. Suddenly I was earning £300-£400 a week, the king’s ransom for a teenager. I was enjoying getting my hands dirty, and enjoying the companionship of my workers. The social life was wonderful.”
Other positions saw him work as a learning disability support provider and he also cut cables and drove a forklift truck for Morelake, eventually moving on to a similar role for Edmonson Electrical, where a colleague, former Bridgend came under the influence of the RFC scrum-half. Brendan Roach, aka the fittest man in Bridgend.
Roach trained hard and watched his diet. Byron worked with them and moved on rapidly. A few breaks later, through Bridgend Athletic and Tondu, and Scarlett became interested.
Byron never looked back.
Adam Jones (patio-slab maker)
He went on to become one of Wales’ biggest tightrope props, but there was a time when he wasn’t even thinking of becoming a professional player.
Their weight had increased to 23 stones and they had achieved the status of making slabs of the courtyard.
Neith RFC came for them after the WRU of the U21 league was founded by inviting local boys to train with them.
“I never came through the academy structure,” Jones told the BBC. “I love rugby, but there are bigger things in life.
“Even when I turned professional with Neith, there was an amateurish culture. I can’t imagine many boys these days ever had a job. Making slabs was hard work, seven-and-a-half every day It starts at noon.”
I have attended a rugby course set up by Sean Holly in Llanelli.
Jones also had a summer job dressing up as a bear in Dan-Yer-Ogof Showcases.
Playing for the Needham U21s against their Cardiff counterparts, Jones was part of a major scandal that paved the way for victory. Leaving the field, he saw what he said in his book Bomb, My Autobiography “the first-team coach of Lynn Jones’ near-mythical figure, Neith.
“He approached me very seriously and said: ‘You played well there, young man’, before slapping me hard and saying, ‘Now go away and get rid of it, will you?’
Jones was on the way.
Shane Williams (job center worker)
Initially the windows were made and fitted “with my socks off” for about £30 a week. He says in his book Shane, My Story, “I was treated like shit and everyone was treated as a company dog.”
After working through several other jobs, he secured a position at a job center, dealing with the unemployed and helping them find work. He proved to be good at it and was promoted. “I loved it,” he says in his book. “I liked the fact that every day was different.”
But it wasn’t long before soon after Neith arrived and broke into Wells’ set-up.
The brilliance could not be suppressed.
Gareth Thomas (postman)
In his early days for Bridgend, Thomas earned £25 a week through rugby.
He used it to increase his salary as a postman.
His father had helped him secure the position.
Thomas Jr. says in his first book, Alfie!: “My dad and I used to get up at 4.30 a.m. to go to work. We’d drive together when we got a car, but before that we had to wake up at 4 a.m. hoping we could flag down one of the boys on the way to stop and give us life “
He left the role after Bridgend offered him a position as development officer.
“I was sad to leave,” he says at Alfie.
“Well, the pay wasn’t the king’s ransom, but as long as I had £50 in my bank account on Sunday nights to see me during the week for petrol and food, I didn’t care. Those were great days.” , and I now often wonder what it would be like to go back in time.
“Working at the post, playing for Bridgend, out with the boys every Saturday night – what a life!”
Liam Williams (staging)
During his time at Waunarlwydd, Williams worked as a scaffolder at the Port Talbot Steelworks, rigging the scaffold 250 feet above a blast furnace.
It wasn’t a job for the faint-hearted, but Williams was always anything but that.
“He was always going to be a rugby player because he was very good at it at a young age. He was brilliant,” Bryan said. “At a young age no one could ever hold him.
“One game he played as a hooker and he went out through the legs of No. 8 and he was gone.”
Williams the full-back previously spoke of his past life working at the steelworks, saying: “The height I climbed was about 250 feet and you’re just looking at the floor below. I went to the top of the blast furnace.” Has worked and maybe even higher. It was fine and it’s not something that bothers me.”
Fear seldom dampened him.
Alan Bateman (Pathology Lab Worker)
In the 1980s those who followed Mastag RFC knew that a very promising youth center was coming by the name of Alan Bateman.
He had a lightning speed of over 20 metres, could step and deal with poison.
That was all he could do, despite working 80 hours in a pathology lab at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital.
The long hours continued after his switch to Neath. Switched to rugby league with Warrington in 1990. Bateman later said, “One of the reasons I left Neath in 1990 and joined Warrington was because of the hours I worked and my rugby getting better.”
“I was working all day in the pathology lab at Morriston Hospital, training with Neath and then training with Wells. It was ridiculous.
“I really needed someone to come along and offer me some help so that I wouldn’t have to work so many hours. A sponsored car would have eased the burden, or something that would have allowed me to work part-time.” Lets go. That didn’t happen, I was a bit disillusioned and suddenly got offered to rugby league. I admit I didn’t really think a whole lot about it, but I decided to go.”
You can read more about Alan Bateman’s life after rugby in this interview.
Mark Ring (civil servant)
The Gifted Fly-Half or Center began working as a civil servant at the Company House in Cardiff in 1980, after coming through an interview.
“I got the job and got hired in the post room, where I was basically opening letters all day and inexplicably bored,” he says in his gripping book, Ring Master.
A disciplinary scrap ring was negotiated. “One of the cool things that came out of this was that my bosses realized that I was a young person making my way into the world of sports and that I needed to do something that challenged me more. Their answer I had to put in the mortgage department — unfortunately, I found it only a little more interesting.”
Throughout their time, employees had to work seven hours and 24 minutes a day, figures that were still on Ringo’s mind when he wrote his book a quarter century or so later.
Josh Lewis (Stonemason)
Welsh rugby’s exit from the ranks of semi-professionals meant that the current Dragons utility could bid goodbye to its days of training fitting in to work as a stonemason for the family business, Lewis Memorial.
“I was training before work, from 5.30 am. I take my hat off to semi-pro because they have to fit in (the work-around) in their training,” said the former Ebb Vale player, who enjoyed spells with Scarlett and Bath.
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