Dom's rugby globetratting days are over as he focuses on FourFiveCBD!

Dom at Saracens ground

Dominic Day is very proud of his strong Pembrokeshire connections after the powerful second row set out from his Lamphey home to play initially for Pembroke RFC’s junior and youth teams and finally retired from the hugely successful Saracens’ squad after another knee injury and with his new business beginning to blossom and needing his contribution.

Sandwiched in between has been a fascinating rugby career which saw him play for Wales at under 19s (ten times), under 21s (15 times) and the Welsh senior team three times, (including one match in the Rugby World Cup. His travels since he started out as an eight year old have been the sort that good autobiographies are written and he might even consider a title like ‘Have Rugby  Boots Will Travel’ as its title because few other Welsh players could match him in the range of clubs he has played for, here and in the southern hemisphere !

Globetrotting over as business is his new challenge

Dominic Day with the ScarletsAfter his early involvement at Crickmarren he followed up with stints at Carmarthen Quins, Llanelli, The Scarlets, Bath, Toyota Verblitz  (Japan),  Australian team Melbourne Rebels (and made his debut in New Zealand against The Highlanders). Then it was back to play on a three-year contact with top English side Saracens – and he had arranged to play next in the USA for The San Diego Legion for two seasons but had to cry off because he decided it was time to step down to focus on his growing business.

It is called ‘Four Five CBD’ and his partner is George Kruis, the Saracens and England lock, hence the ‘Four Five’ part of the title (which were the duo’s jersey numbers at Sarries) and their products are based around cannabis oil.

“I first came across it when I had another knee operation and a friend recommended I try it to aid my recuperation. It had been cleared for legal use in the UK and I found it a great help – and when I was talking to George one day he told me how good he thought it was as well.

“We had both been looking for a business outlet and decided it was a good field to be in – and it has had a terrific reception which includes being on the shelves at Boots already!

“George and I really believe in our product and more details can be found on

Very early start at Crickmarren – and well looked after by ‘Tosh’ and Adrian

Going back to Dom’s early rugby days he attended his first training sessions at Pembroke RFC when he was eight and naturally he was the biggest boy there and found his place at second row before he eventually moved to No 8.

At under 16 and youth level he played for coaches Clive ‘Tosh’ Rowlands and his brother Adrian in a team which won the under 16s cup and did well at youth level - and still keeps in touch with them, as he does with Neil ‘Tatty’ Truman, his games teacher at Pembroke Comprehensive, who recommended him for a place in the Pembrokeshire Schools’ elite squad.

At youth level Carmarthen Quins tried to tempt him to play for them but ‘Tosh’ was up for the challenge by making Dom captain – and he enjoyed his time at Crickmarren before he went to UWIC to study Sports Science.

Rugby played in UWIC days

“In my first season there I absolutely enjoyed the social side of things but still managed to play for the college in a strong side which won the Colleges Cup and did quite well in the Welsh Premiership – but us forwards had a torrid time as some of the valleys’ sides thought we were easy meat to rough up – and to some extent they were right as it gave me a brutal introduction to senior rugby!

“In my second season I played for Carmarthen Quins in the same section and although it was hard I gradually learned to cope with the physical pressures – and moved on to play for Llanelli in my final year.”

Caps galore at under 19 and under 21 . . .

Dom must have played well because he caught the eye of the Welsh selectors at under 19 level and eventually finished with ten caps, some of them in the World Championships in South Africa, which is a time he will never forget.

“South Africa was an amazing country and the rugby was very hard and uncompromising but I‘ll never forget going there.”

A year later he was selected for the Wales Under 21s squad and had two seasons where he accumulated another 15 caps, including World Cups in Argentina and France – and another chance to enhance his already growing reputation.

. . . But not all sailing at The Scarlets!

But it hasn’t been all plain sailing for Dom because after looking forward to his debut for The Scarlets at the top level he was delighted to start against The Dragons on the opening day of the 2007/8 season.

“I was thrilled.” Admitted big Dom, “and although I knew I hadn’t set the world alight I was taken aback at half time when coach Phil Davies took me off. He didn’t explain then or later and actually didn’t pick me, or speak to me for the rest of the season and so I played for Llanelli thinking that my hopes of a career at the top of Welsh Rugby were gone!”

Big break comes from an asthma pump!

But Dom’s revival came in an equally surreal setting after Phil Davies had been sacked and new head coach Nigel Davies called him on the bench for an away match against Stade Francais.

“My big break came after Scott MacLeod had failed a drug test for incorrectly declaring details of his asthma pump and was taken off the plane – and I found myself playing in France.

“It was a tough match which we lost but I had a good game, doing well in the lineouts and getting through quite a few big tackles – and from then on I was back in favour.

“I think what helped my cause was the fact that working alongside Nigel as his forwards’ coach was John Muggleton, a former Australian rugby league player who didn’t want second rows to sidestep or dummy but who got down to some real graft and left the ‘Fancy Dan’ stuff to others.

“‘Muggo’ seemed to like my grafting style of play and from then on I was regularly in the starting line-up.

Unusual mentor in big Vernon

“I suppose that my mentor when I started out with The Scarlets was fellow second row Vernon Cooper, who had something of the old amateur approach to rugby and we enjoyed a few beers after every match, no matter where.

“He also told me from the outset that I should always take a smart shirt in my kitbag in case there was a nearby bar or nightclub where we could drink a little later than might be expected of us!”

In 2010/11, with Lou Reed as his lock partner, Dom scored his first Heineken Cup try at Benetton Treviso but then a shoulder injury kept him out for two months – until he returned for the 37-29 win away to Glasgow Warriors, which qualified The Scarlets for the following year’s competition. I was also delighted to play for them in the final match ever at the old Stradey Park.

Dom enjoying the pre-match warm-up

Bath-bound but a little nervous about the move

“But then The Scarlets brought in a salary cap at the start of the 2012/13 and at just the right time for me Bath offered me a three-year contract and the chance to play in the Aviva Premiership.

“To be honest I couldn’t believe it because I hadn’t stayed in the bright lights of a big city before and when I started it felt as if I was a million miles from Wales, rather than just across the Severn Bridge and down the M4. I had to keep pinching myself to check it wasn’t a dream!”

“I was thinking about the immense physicality of the English game and wondering if I had made a mistake but it was the best move I made because the club was brilliant – and the so-called stars I was going to play alongside weren’t ‘celebrity stars’ but down-to-earth players who made me very welcome.

Loved the atmosphere – and met wife Nadia

“It gave me just the kick up the backside I needed and I loved the atmosphere, action and noise from our supporters. Gary Gold was our coach, a really mad character if ever there was one - and he said he liked my ‘grunt stuff’ as I enjoyed four wonderful years at ‘The Rec’.”

It was whilst there that he met Irish model, actress and singer Nadia Forde, well known for her appearance in ‘I’m A Celebrity . . .’ and the happy couple now have a daughter called Wyatt as they live in St Albans, near where his business is sited.

Coffee with a team mate sets the wheels going on Wales’ selection

It was also whilst in Bath that Dom set out on the next extraordinary step in his life when he was having a coffee with team mate Paul James, another Welshman living his dream in Bath, who casually mentioned that Warren Gatland had given him a call and asked whether he thought Dom might be interested in joining the World Cup squad.

Ironically, Dom was also qualified to play for England through his grandparents and another Bath team-mate in Rob Webber asked him if Dom fancied joining him with the English Saxons but fortunately Dom decided Wales was far more important to him.

Dom couldn’t work out why Mr Gatland hadn’t simply phoned him but he told Paul he would be thrilled and in a relatively short time an e-mail provided the invitation to turn up at The WRU National Centre of Excellence at The Vale.

Different training venues and then amazing news!

“As well as the training camp at The Vale, where I was pleased with the way things went, it put in my head the slim chance of a Welsh cap in one of the warm-up games against Ireland and Italy, Dom also was part of the reducing squad for warm-weather training in Doha and the altitude stuff in Switzerland.

“When the final squad was announced I had gone to the gym and enjoyed a swim afterwards without a thought of the impending news but when I finally got a signal on my phone it almost exploded in my hand because of the huge number of congratulatory messages and I still can’t describe how I felt!”

Damp-squib start and then a World Cup cap

There was further great news for Dom when the squad finally met up because he was selected to start the opening warm-up match against Ireland – but it didn’t go well for the Welsh team at the Principality Stadium.

“To be honest we were smashed but I played the whole game and was delighted that I topped the tackle count with 25, which says a lot with the likes of Justin Tipuric also playing!

“Then I saw my name on the team sheet to start against Italy and it was nice to celebrate my first win in a Welsh Jersey.”

Then the World Cup started in earnest on the 20th September 2015 and again the name Dominic Day appeared on the sheet for the team to play Uruguay, coming on as replacement for Luke Charteris after 47 minutes.

“It was amazing to run out in front of a brilliant crowd and completed my hat-trick of World Cups after being involved at under 19 and under 21 levels. We won 54-9 so Wales got off to a good start.”

Sadly for Dom, with the return of Alun Wyn Jones he wasn’t picked for the other games but his three Welsh jerseys are lovely mementoes – and there might have been more because he was included for the Six Nations in 2006 but was injured. He also went close to another Welsh trip to Tonga and Samoa after a late phone call but – you’ve guessed it – he’d had a small operation on his knee the day before!

Huge cultural change in Japan – and ‘rocket rugby’

After his terrific time at Bath he had offers to play back in Wales, England and France but as Dom admits, the main reason for his next move after the World Cup was to head to Japan to play for Toyota Verblitz and be really well paid, plus the chance to experience a huge cultural change.

“I wanted to experience something different and it certainly was because it was a totally different culture to what I was used to and so was the rugby. Players were super-fit and lots of world stars, like Dan carter, turned out – and every match seemed totally unstructured and was played at 100 miles an hour.

“We were coached by Oz Durant, the giant South African prop, alongside Wycliffe Palu, capped 58 times for Australia and a great guy – but no matter what we did in training it all went out of the window once the whistle blew.

Dom attending a presentation event for juniors

Rough stuff in Melbourne . . .

“I almost stayed for a second season with Toyota but I’d always wanted to play Super Rugby and the call came from Melbourne Rebels and so off I went to experience the very physical play after I had made my debut against The Waratahs as a replacement in the second row when someone got knocked out – and I was on the pitch for only 15 seconds when I was also KO’d”

 “But I also played in New Zealand against The Highlanders, under their retractable roof at the fabulous Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

“It was so physical and training was the hardest I had ever experienced, and by then I had been playing almost non-stop for two years and the inevitable happened after eight games – another knee operation!

And then great years with The Sarries!

So after a deserved rest Dom came back to the UK and hit the sporting headlines when he signed for top English club Saracens, ostensibly as cover for his pal George and Maro Itoje but playing well in his two and a half years alongside some of the biggest stars of English rugby.

“I had more knee trouble after only four games and the going was hard but I stuck at it and completed over 50 games and won a Premiership Champions’ medal. I didn’t manage to play in the major European finals but felt very much part of the squad and treasure my medals because I did contribute.”

“On holidays in the USA I loved it – especially in California which for me had everything: great weather, surfing, beach bars and a laid back approach to life - like Pembrokeshire on steroids.

“So when the offer came to join San Diego Legion it seemed a great way to finish my career, especially since there might be a bit of coaching thrown in – but with an increase in difficulty maintaining the grind of training at a professional level I finally took the decision to retire, especially since our business was going so well were employing more people.

Dom on holiday in Switzerland

Time to focus on business – but could there be one last rugby hurrah?!

As Dom told us,

“As I said earlier, I discovered it’s helping qualities when I was injured and tried vaping it first – but that wasn’t really for me so I started taking the oil orally before introducing it to George (Kruis).

“We decided to go into business and we are delighted our products are approved for athletes because that was a real plus for us. We estimate we have about three or four hundred athletes using our product now, including Olympians, cyclists, boxers, UFC fighters, rugby union and league players – and it is heartening that major stores are beginning to show an interest.

“So not going to San Diego was a blessing in disguise because I have the time to focus on ‘FourFiveCPD, which your readers can find out more of on “

 Before leaving Dom we had to ask the final question – Is this really the end of Dominic Day’s globetrotting rugby career and his answer was delivered with a chuckle.

“I don’t know mate. I was speaking to Kyle Davies (Pembroke RFC’s assistant coach) the other day and we were talking about the good old days at Crickmarren. He jokingly said there was always a game there for me – so who knows, I might even keep my boots ready just in case the call comes!”

Dom attending a presentation event for juniors