The Discovery tour of West Africa

Up until now none of us had been paid to play the sport we loved, so you can imagine the surprise that ensued when the club I was playing at and the England A squad decided to pay players to play rugby. This didn’t happen immediately but there was an understanding that we would get paid to play when the RFU and Club had come to terms with the huge changes that Vernon Pugh had brought about. These changes were meteoric for rugby. Can you imagine what JR Simpson, the past president of the RFU, must have thought about these changes? He had chastised me for claiming too much on my expenses form and now players like me would be on the RFU pay roll. The first time I got paid to play was after winning a Sevens competition in Newcastle. We had won the competition and there was a £10,000 prize. There were ten players in the squad including Paul Larkin the coach, Tim Rodber, Jonnie Bell, Gregor Townsend, Paul Grayson, Matt Dawson, Nick Beal, Simon Foale and me. We all travelled back from Newcastle on the train. The talk in the station was about how we would spend our money. There were no delusions of grandeur. The concept of being paid to play was enough. Nick Beal was going to treat himself and have a new patio laid in his house!


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply