Luke Griffiths-Dawes shines for Neyland RFC, Wales and Great Britain police force

Luke Griffiths-Dawes in Czech Rep 2By any sporting standards it has been quite a rugby season for Luke Griffiths-Dawes because the 25 year old loose head prop was not only a regular in the Neyland front row but he also made his debut for Dyfed Powys Police and after just one match he was selected for the Welsh Police.
It goes without saying that Luke regarded it as a huge honour but the story doesn’t stop there because out of the blue he received an e-mail from the secretary of the British Police which invited him to be a member of the 20-man squad to travel out to the Czech Republic to play against their national team in a match in Prague!”

Family matters

It would be fair to say that everyone at the Athletic Ground in Neyland was delighted and so were Luke’s family, who have always given him total support.

“My mum Karen Griffiths was the perfect taxi driver from the time I started playing through to the time I passed my driving test – and never grumbled so she was brilliant – and my dad, Martyn Dawes, also played loose-head prop for Neyland so has given me lots of advice.
“Then there’s my brother Maxi Rodrigues, who plays for Neyland under 10s and I watch him playing whenever I’m off duty on a Sunday.”

Luke on the charge

Exciting tour to the Czech Republic

“We fly out from Bristol on the 8th of June and then play two days later, before flying back on the 13th of June so is looks like being a memorable trip. In the 20-man squad there are seven Welsh players, with four from Dyfed Powys, two from Gwent and one from North Wales.
“We will have a blue blazer with the British Police badge on it alongside a special tie awarded for being selected and the first stepping stone towards a cap, which is awarded for making several more appearances.
“Now that would be a real challenge but at the moment all I’m thinking about is the honour of representing the British Police in rugby against another country’s national team.

Dyfed/Powys Police selection – and then Wales

Luke on his Welsh Police debut“To be honest I had been pleased to get a game for the Dyfed Powys Police and I played against the Gwent Police at Heywood Lane in Tenby.
“We lost but I was happy with my overall game – and it came as a real surprise when I discovered that I had been selected for the Welsh Police in an international against the English Police at Cheltenham.
“I was the only player to be chosen from Pembrokeshire but there were three other Dyfed Powys representatives as we played on a 4G pitch, which is always a different experience, allowing a much faster game.
“I know it has become a cliché but it was a great thrill to pull on the red jersey and run out onto the pitch with the three feathers on my chest.
“The game, which was played on the 13th April, was very fast and open as we lost 38-14 but I thought we played quite well, considering the fact that we travelled up and back on the day whilst The English had a three-day camp prior to the match, which certainly helped their battle plans.
“We were presented with our commemorative ties afterwards and, like the British Police, it is the first step towards a Welsh Police cap so I’ll just keep plugging away and hope that I can be chosen again in the future.”

Early start at Neyland

It all seems a long way from the time that Luke set out with Neyland at under seven level with his pals Ben Williams and Jack Harries, who also followed him right through in youth and senior rugby.
Since then the only time that Luke missed a season at the Athletic Ground came when the Pembrokeshire All Blacks didn’t have a team in his age group and he had a campaign apiece at Pembroke Dock Quins and Haverfordwest, where he played second or back row.

Good school and youth days

It was current first team coach Steve Evans who suggested he could make a name for himself at loose-head prop – so he switched positions and hasn’t looked back since.

“In those youth days we reached a couple of Griffiths Cup semi-finals but always seemed to be drawn against a very strong Crymych side that dominated things, with Ifan Phillips as their key player.
“When I played for Pembrokeshire Schools I was coached by Kevin Phillips, who had played hooker for Wales and was a real influence on my play as we reached the final of the inter-district Cup which we played against the Caerphilly area at Cardiff Arms Park but lost 7-3 - and then when I went to Pembrokeshire College it was coach Kevin Hopkins who really encouraged me to work at my game.

Great to play in Neyland’s first team

Luke looking proud wearing his Neyland jerseyLuke made his first-team debut when still a youth player and is already known as someone who does his work in the set-pieces but I’ve also worked hard at my play in the loose and I scored six tries in the season just finished – and my best-ever number was four tries away to Tregaron, three of them from short crash balls but the other one from a decent run where I supported well.
“When I started out in the first team I was often propping against some very experienced opponents and to be honest I found it hard but I stuck at it and in the past couple of seasons, with some good advice from former Neyland front rowers like Peter ‘Jack’ Davies and Robert Johns I’ve trained harder and I think I’m beginning to get the hang of it now,” said Luke with a chuckle.
“We have had good coaches in Steve Martin and now Graham Richards and Steve Evans, ably assisted by Peter ‘Jack’ Davies and I think we have a young team which can only get better if we stick together, with Iestyn and Owain Evans, plus Ben Williams, as the corner-stones of the pack whilst George Williams has led us well alongside the classy Paddy Bellerby and Henry McBeth offering options out wide.
“Everyone in the squad plays for each other and nearly everyone comes from Neyland so it is very much a family club, which I think is brilliant.

And finally . . .

“I applied to join the police in early 2020 and in July I started my six-month training period at headquarters in Carmarthen before being allocated my post in the Ceredigion area.
“For the first 12 weeks I was with a mentor when I was on duty and I learned a great deal from him – and in May 2021 I started out on my own, when the decision-making really began.
“So I now have to work shifts but I’ve adapted to that – and been lucky to be able to continue playing for Neyland alongside suddenly representing the police force at three different levels so quickly.
“Little did I realise when I applied to join the police that within a year I would have played for them at Dyfed Powys, Wales and GB levels - and hopefully I will be able to fly my town and county’s flags with them for some time to come!”
The British Police lost 34-29 in a titanic clash which can be viewed on You Tube - and Luke played well in the final quarter after coming on as a replacement in a very strong squad which included players from Northern Ireland, Scotland, the north and south of England, north and south Wales.
So well done Luke Griffiths-Dawes – and we at wish you every success in the future at this very high level!

Luke scoring a try at Tregaron