In the second part of our serialisation of Matthew Rees’ book Raising a Smile, the former Wales captain talks about the toughest match he played in… and also reveals the surprise part he played in Sam Warburton’s appointment as Wales skipper. THE BATTLE WITH THE BOKS Rees played in the Battle of Pretoria, the second Test between South Africa and the Lions in 2009. It was a brutal match he was never to forget. The Lions has been beaten in the first Test with the front row, including Phil Vickery, given a going over. Ian McGeechan turned to a Welsh trio of Gethin Jenkins, Rees and Adam Jones to rescue the day in Pretoria. It was a much improved showing, but came at a cost with the dressing room resembling a hospital ward. “The week building up to the second Test was intense. We knew they’d target the scrums again and we had many scrum sessions, with Graham Rowntree working us as hard as possible. This may sound a bit big-headed but come the team announcement, I was certain I’d be selected after how the scrums had gone in the first half in the first Test, and how that had… Read full this story
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