Huge amount of thought for Scarlets' selection

Clive Rowlands and Simon  EdwardsGeraint Lewis

When I asked Geraint Lewis, the current coach of Pembroke RFC, to choose a ‘Select XV from the past two decades he was pleased to help but with the planning that has gone into the club’s organisation over recent years he also recruited the thoughts of assistant coach Kyle Davies, who was also a very fine player before playing at a higher level.

I know Geraint was aware that for some of that time he was pursuing his career as a police officer in London so he called in the views of two other great club men in Simon Edwards and Clive ‘Tosh’ Rowlands, who both played all their rugby over a long period at Crickmarren and currently co-coach the club’s youth team.

The end product is a very interesting, thoughtful and very detailed analysis, which we at really enjoyed reading!



Having been approached by Bill Carne to pick a Pembroke Select XV of the last 20 years I have called on my own playing days in the early 2000’s with the club and my more recent coaching of the first XV in association with Kyle Davies.

Neither of us has put ourselves forward for selection and both of us recognise that this is our choice, one we have debated long and hard in certain positions and will differ from players, members and supporters of the club.

But Bill was at pains to assure us that it was just a stimulus for interest, as it has been with all the other clubs who have featured and been read by thousands of rugby supporters from around our county and much farther afield.

And looking at Pembroke RFC with our spotlight we’re sure our selection will generate some healthy debate!

Loads of choice in a very strong front row

Gareth JonesRichard MasonTeams are built around front rows and this area of the team has been one of the easiest to pick before the loose-head prop came down to Richard ‘Bomber’ Morris and Lloyd Davies. Bomber, a local farmer, was naturally strong in the Brian Williams’ mould of loose heads and although not the biggest was a technically good and tremendous scrummager.  Lloyd is part of the current squad, still a youngster in propping terms but a top ball carrier and strong scrummager who can play both sides of the front row and  he will get better and better with age! In our opinion Lloyd Davies scrapes it but both would be tremendous players to have in the squad.


Gareth Jones aka ‘Marrow’ would be the starting hooker. A strong, quick ball carrier, equally adept in the back row who went on to play at higher level with Narberth. The back-up hooker’s  place forced a tough call between Max Hayward (a strong scrummaging hooker and aggressive ball carrier who could also play loose head) and Seamus ‘Moose’ Wiseman, who is part of the current 1st XV squad, with a precision-like throw and who can also cover loose head prop.

Lloyd DaviesThere is one stand out candidate at tight-head  and that is Richard ‘Spud’ Mason; a terrific servant to the club who made the tight head position his own. A local farmer he was an incredibly strong and destructive scrummager who could have played at a much higher level but was totally committed to his club, where he is now involved in coaching a  junior team.  He was part of the formidable front row in the early 2000’s which was simply known as BOMBER, MARROW and SPUD.  Others worthy of mention are Owain Johns (who could play both sides of the scrum) and current tight head Johnny Palmer, another great servant of The Scarlets.


Edwards’ brothers in arms in the second row

In the boiler house of the pack we have gone for a brothers-in-arms combination of Simon and Mathew Edwards. Both were fantastic line-out forwards who were athletic agile jumpers who guaranteed you'd win your own ball and disrupt and steal opposition ball.

Both were extremely fit and excellent ball carriers with Simon equally adept in playing at Number 8.

Simon played well into his thirties and was an outstanding club captain, and they formed a tremendous second row duo.

Others who would make the squad are Mark Boswell, another excellent line out forward, and strong ball carrier - and current first team second rows Scott Powell who has been an excellent captain of the first XV over the last three seasons and Will Edwards, who is getting better each season. Both of these are extremely fit ball handling second rows.

Back rower choices galore at Crickmarren

Sandy Allen There are plenty of quality of quality players to choose from at  No 6,  with Richard Jelly as another tremendous servant to the club who played into his forties as a destructive tackler; a very fit, strong back row forward  who was aggressive at the breakdown . Dom Colman has the speed and power to break tackles and score tries for fun and play at centre as well!  Steven “Dido “ Dyde was a very destructive tackler and good at the breakdown so the starting place was a close call before going to Richard Jelley.

Open-side flanker has been one of the easier calls, despite the fact that there have been some outstanding players to have worn the 7 shirt. Our starting player would be Sandy Allen - what a tremendous player who could have played at the top echelons of the game. He had it all, destructive tackler, aggressive in the contact and tremendous ball carrier; another who scored tries for fun. He had the knack of picking his running lines at the right time and breaking through tackles. Sandy hated the gym but was naturally strong. Others of note were Luke Hansford, who would make most starting XV’s as a very good technical No 7 who was excellent at the breakdown. Another who went on to play at higher level was Rob Jones a gifted number 7 who was fit and great ball handler  who could also switch to No 8.

As for the No 8 this again was one of the easier calls to make with Sam Smith starting. Sam has been tremendous over the past few seasons and instrumental in the success the club has achieved and has been missed this season with an injury that kept him out for the whole campaign, but hopefully he'll be back to his rampaging best next season. He is a big strong number 8, deceptively quick , has a big hand off , is powerful, a strong  tackler and top try scorer – indeed the complete player in his position.

Others to note were Robin Badham,  who was very skilful with good hands, a strong ball carrier, and already mentioned in the second row, Simon Edwards also played really well at number 8 towards the later stages of his career and Stuart Tyrie was a terrific ball carrier in this position.

Sam Smith

Talented half backs indeed

Tom LewisThe club has produced some excellent scrum halves over past 20 years like brothers Viv and Andrew Davies, who were both exciting running 9’s. Viv moved away to work and Andrew went on to play with Narberth for many seasons.  Andrew came out of retirement this season to help the 1st XV when injuries hit and showed he was still more than capable of playing at division one level until he got injured! Another of note was Darren ‘Butch’ Gilbert, who played for many seasons for the club as a strong physical number 9 who came into his own when the pitches were wet and heavy. More recently we have had Tom Lewis, who began playing for the 1st XV aged 18 and has been there for the past three years. Tom is technically very good,  with a sharp pass from the base off both hands and an excellent kicking game and running game as an integral part of Pembroke’s success over the last few seasons.

Lewys Gibby has  blistering pace and frightens defenders as he is always looking for the gap. He is tremendously fit, has a great pass and able to play in many positions in  the back line -  and been playing for Narberth for last few seasons .

Verdict: Tom Lewis first half, Lewys Gibby second half!

There has been one stand out player for the 10 shirt and that is Toby Smith, a tremendously talented outside half who is equally at home at centre. He is a big strong player with a cultured left foot. He kicks out of his hands with his left and kicks off the ground with his right!  Toby has been a major factor in the club’s success over recent seasons, amassing huge amounts of points whether kicking goals or scoring tries. He has formed a tremendous combination with Tom Lewis. Toby is a fantastic passer of the ball off both hands, a strong tackler and dynamic runner who knows how to manage and control games, and has been instrumental in assisting the development of some of the younger players in the team. The back-up to Toby would be James Davies very underrated player who can play 12 as well, he is a strong defensive 10 with good hands but unlucky with injuries over last few seasons.

Toby Smith

Loads of pacy or powerful wingers . . . and a full back who oozes class!

There has been some competition for the left wing berth. Geraint Jackson is a former club captain, a very strong aggressive runner, strong tackler, great captain who led by example but an unlucky injury has curtailed his career. Elliot Evans is another strong, quick runner remembered for an incredible offload in the final at the Principality Stadium. Luke Dow exceptionally quick wing with great step. Simon Stanford another with electrifying pace sustained an unfortunately knee injury which has kept him out for the season.

So our starting place goes to Geraint Jackson.

On the right wing there are some excellent choices to select from. Luke ‘Pooch’ Hartland is equally at home at 15, a tremendously quick elusive runner, extremely strong tackler, very fit and another who has been an integral part of the success of the club over past few seasons. Barry Alderman-John has been a very consistent performer over many seasons, an elusive runner with great step off his right foot, and again heavily involved in our success over the  past few seasons. Going back a few years, Neil Ralph was a big, strong, quick wing who would run through defenders for fun.  But our first choice has to be Luke Hartland.

Tom Harding-JonesOur starting choice at No15  goes to a young player who is one of the most talented players to have come through the youth team and into 1st XV ever, Tom Harding-Jones.  Tom is an exceptional talent who can step off both feet, beating defenders for fun, has great pace and is a ferocious tackler. Tom has played wing, centre and 15 for the 1st XV over the past few seasons and when he has the ball there is an air of excitement within the team and crowd.

Other players to note are Shaun Dalling a very talented, underrated player with a great side-step and rock-solid defence who can play equally well at centre or wing.  Going back a while Phil Williams had a cultured left foot and great hands who equally at home at 10.


Centres with power – and a touch of class!

Dan ColleyWe had some quality players to choose from for the inside centre shirt. More recently, Dan Colley has been a quality player, a strong runner with great supporting lines, often seen joining the driving maul and scoring the try! He can play in many positions in the back line and is a, frustrated back rower! He has been a great team player and an integral part of the success of Pembroke over past few seasons.

Mark ‘Pello’ Williams was a big strong centre and very direct runner; a big tackler and great at getting over gain line.  Simon ‘Snowy’ Cole was a very underrated centre, a strong ball carrier, a strong tackler but with great hands, probably something to do with the cricket!  Sadly, an injury curtailed a lot of his career.

There are two players that stand out at outside centre. Firstly, Fraser James, a tremendous, quiet and unassuming player but quality at No 13. He is very quick, with great feet and hands and is a tenacious tackler , Fraser unfortunately missed most of this season with a knee injury but hopefully will be back next season. Jack Parkinson came through junior and youth teams and is another quality centre. Big strong runner with great hands, he is a strong tackler and big boot who can play in many positions in the back line. Like Fraser has missed all of this season with a knee injury and again hopefully back next season. It proved a tough call as both are real quality centres. But our starting place goes to Fraser James, having played more senior games than Jack but we are looking forward to having them both back fit for next season.

Coach Kyle Davies

Captain – Simon Edwards  - an amazing motivator and a genuine character who led by example!

Vice-captain – Sandy Allen, another driving force who had the respect of all the players around him!

Coaches - Geraint Lewis and Kyle Davies (Well, we would say that, wouldn’t we?!

Team manager – Nik Shiels – nothing was too much trouble and he was very thorough in all he did. There would also be a special mention for Kenny Small, who also did the job so well for us.


In conclusion, Geraint Lewis told us:

“This selection has been a lot of fun. I was lucky enough to play with some of these terrific players and even more lucky to coach them. A lot of the players selected have been involved with the recent unprecedented success of the club, with two years gaining back to back promotions, playing an epic final in the WRU bowl final at the Principality Stadium and playing in the Pembrokeshire Knock Out Cup final for the first time in many years. These players selected old and new have brought a lot of joy and happiness to the supporters and members of Pembroke RFC over the past 20 years and no doubt sparked some interesting debates."