Related to: 'Making the Running'

Let Jane Feather Sweep You Away

Trapped at the Altar

The cavalcade of horsemen rode into the narrow defile...

Headline

Bomb

Adam Jones
Authors:
Adam Jones

In rugby, there are the Flash Harrys and the Glory Boys: the fly-halves who run, kick and dazzle; the scrum-halves who nip and dart; the wingers who step and glide. These are the players who get the crowd on their feet, who set stadiums abuzz. But they only get to do these things because other, less glorified figures do all of the donkey work. Adam Jones is one such figure. And for a decade he was one of the world's best. On many occasions when George North or Shane Williams were careering under the posts to score a try, and the crowd was engulfed in rapturous joy, Adam Jones would be hauling himself up from the turf, spitting blood and mud, and massaging his aching neck. He hadn't scored the try; but more often than not it was his graft and strength which had made it. This is the story of 'Bomb': the self-effacing manual labourer from the Swansea Valley who traded laying paving slabs for running out in some of the world's most imposing sporting citadels. He rose to the pinnacle of his sport, winning virtually everything there was to be won: Grand Slams, Six Nations Championships, Lions tours, Pro12 titles. In a nation of rugby heroes, Adam Jones has become a legend. Only six Welshmen can say they've won three Grand Slams. He is one of them: not just as a bit-part player, but as the beating heart of the most successful squad in Welsh rugby history. His was one of the first names on the team sheet. He was - literally and metaphorically - the cornerstone of this Welsh side. In his autobiography, Jones reveals exactly what goes on in the murky depths of the front row: the tricks, the techniques, the physical and psychological warfare; and the mental fortitude it takes to endure in one of the hardest positions, in one of the world's toughest contact sports.

Adebayo Akinfenwa

Adebayo Akinfenwa has scored over 180 goals in nearly 600 appearances for clubs in Lithuania, Wales and England. He currently plays for Wycombe Wanderers. According to the FIFA video game series, he is the strongest professional footballer in the world.

Andrés Iniesta

Andres Iniesta is widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers of his generation.After graduating from La Masia, the fabled Barcelona youth academy, Iniesta made his first-team debut in 2002, aged 18. He became a regular in the 2004-05 season and has remained in the side ever since, helping Barca to an amazing string of trophies, including eight La Liga and four Champions League titles.At international level he has well over a century of caps, and has twice won the European Championships. In 2010, he scored the winning goal to hand Spain their first World Cup victory.

Billy Mcneill

Billy McNeill made his debut for Celtic in 1958 and went on to make 790 appearances for the club, winning 23 trophies including the 1967 European Cup, before retiring in 1975. He won 29 caps for Scotland. Subsequently, he twice managed Celtic, winning eight trophies in nine years. He also managed Aberdeen, Manchester City and Aston Villa. He currently works for Celtic, and regularly broadcasts in both the UK and Ireland.

Billy Vunipola

Born in Sydney, Australia, in 1992 to a father who was a Tongan rugby legend, Billy Vunipola moved to Wales as a child before settling in England and gaining a scholarship to Harrow School.After a spell at Wasps, he joined Saracens in 2013 and has never looked back. His England debut followed that same year, and he has already won 34 caps at the tender age of 24. After a disappointing World Cup in 2015, England - with Vunipola as the spearhead - swept to their first Grand Slam for thirteen years in the 2016 Six Nations. Eddie Jones' rejuvenated side then recorded their first ever Test series in Australia, whitewashing the Wallabies 3-0, with Vunipola again very much to the fore, and then reclaimed their 2017 Six Nations crown.Vunipola was selected in Warren Gatland's British & Irish Lions squad for the tour to New Zealand, but had to withdraw due to injury.

Bobby Charlton

Sir Bobby Charlton was born in 1937 in Ashington, Northumberland. He joined Manchester United as a professional in 1954 and made his first team debut in October 1956. He was voted European Player of the Year in 1966 and won the FA Cup, three Division One championships and the European Cup with United. He joined the board of the club in 1984, a position he still holds today. Bobby Charlton was a key member of the victorious England World Cup side of 1966. He was awarded the OBE in 1969, the CBE in 1973 and was knighted in 1994, the first footballer to gain such an honour since Sir Stanley Matthews in 1965.

Frank Mclintock

Frank McLintock made his debut for Leicester City at 19 and played over 200 games, including three cup finals. In 1964 he transferred to Arsenal for a British record fee of £80,000 and made over 400 appearances. He was voted Player of the Year in 1971. He moved to QPR in 1973 and then went into management at Leicester, QPR, Brentford and Millwall. Leaving management, he became an agent for many leading players and he is now a regular pundit for Sky.

Ginger Mccain

Ginger McCain - real name Donald - was born in 1930 and began his career as a trainer in 1952, with a small stable behind a second-hand car showroom in Southport. He trained the legendary Red Rum to three Grand National victories in '73, '74 and '77 and to two runner-up places. Red Rum died in 1995 but nine years later, Amberleigh House gave Ginger a record-equalling fourth National win. He now operates from a stable complex in Cholmondeley, Cheshire.

Graeme Souness

Graeme Souness was born in Edinburgh in 1953. His career begun as an apprentice at Tottenham Hotspur under Bill Nicholson, after which he spent six seasons at Middlesbrough and won a promotion to the First Division in 1973-74. His seven seasons at Liverpool brought incredible success, including three European Cups, five First Division championships and four League Cups. Skippering the team for much of his time at Anfield, he made 358 appearances and scored 56 goals before leaving for Sampdoria in Italy in 1984. He won the Coppa Italia there, for the first time in the Genoa club's history. He returned to Britain in 1986 as player-manager of Rangers, ushering in 'The Souness Revolution' and bringing with it four Scottish Premier Division titles and four Scottish Cups.Souness returned to Anfield as manager in 1991, delivered the FA Cup in 1992, then managed Galatasaray (where he won the Turkish Cup and Super Cup), Southampton, Torino, Benfica, Blackburn Rovers (where he won the League Cup and achieved promotion to the Premier League) and Newcastle United.Souness was awarded 54 caps for his country, and played at the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cup finals.He now writes a column for The Sunday Times and is a pundit on Sky Sports.

John Francome

Ex-National Hunt Champion Jockey John Francome is a broadcaster on racing for Channel 4. His electrifying racing thrillers have also won him legions of fans. He lives in Berkshire.

John Oaksey

John Oaksey rode more than 200 winners in his riding career, including the Whitbread Gold Cup. He has written on racing for the Daily Telegraph since 1957 and commentated on the sport for ITV and Channel 4 since 1970. He was a founder trustee for the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Kate Humble

KATE HUMBLE is a writer and presenter. Her most recent television credits include Volcano Live, Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey, Lambing Live and the long running popular wildlife series Springwatch and Autumnwatch. She is a qualified commercial diver and is the second woman to be appointed President of the RSPB. Kate and Ludo launched their business Humble By Nature in 2012. Based on a working farm in Monmouthshire, they run courses in food, rural skills and animal husbandry. They live nearby on their smallholding with Badger and Bella, a hive of bees and various other hoofed, furred and feathered livestock.

Kieron Dyer

In an 18-year career in professional football, Kieron Dyer played for Ipswich Town, Newcastle United, West Ham United, QPR and Middlesbrough. He won 33 caps for England. In 2015 he was a contestant on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

Lawrence Dallaglio

Lawrence Dallaglio has been a Wasps player all his club career, signing in 1990 and becoming captain in 1995 for 12 years until his retirement in 2008. He has won a hat-trick of Premiership titles and was also a member of the triumphant England Sevens team which won the World Cup at Murrayfield in 1993. He has captained his country and is regarded as one of the world's greatest ever back-row forwards - he was the only player to play in every minute of every match during the victorious 2003 World Cup campaign. He has won 85 caps for England and 3 Lions caps.

Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson has been a sports feature writer for the Daily Telegraph since 1995 before which he was the cricket correspondent of the Independent. His unique writing style has brought him many nominations and several awards, including the Sports Council's Sport Feature Writer of the Year. He collaborated with David Gower on his bestselling autobiography.

Oliver Holt

Oliver Holt worked on the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo for three years before moving to The Times in 1993. He was Motor Racing Correspondent, Chief Football Correspondent and Chief Sports Writer. He joined the Daily Mirror as Chief Sports Writer in 2002. He is now Chief Sport Writer at the Mail on Sunday. His previous books include Miracle at Medinah and GoodFella, with Craig Bellamy.

Phil Tufnell

Phil Tufnell, aka "Tuffers", played 42 Test matches and 20 One-Day Internationals for England between 1990 and 1997. Following retirement in 2002, Tufnell became a hugely popular TV personality. He was the winner of ITV1's "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here" in 2003, and enjoyed a long run in BBC1's "Strictly Come Dancing" in 2009. Current broadcasting commitments include being team captain on BBC1's "A Question of Sport" and regular features on BBC1's "The One Show". He remains a star turn on Radio 4's iconic "Test Match Special" show.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez began his football coaching career at Real Madrid before going on to manage Real Valladolid, Osasuna, Extremadura and Tenerife. But it was at Valencia where he really made his name, managing the club to the Spanish La Liga title twice - in 2002 and 2004. Appointed manager of Liverpool in 2004, in Rafa's first year in charge he delivered the Champions League trophy, courtesy of an astonishing second-half come-back against AC Milan that came to be known as 'The Miracle of Istanbul'. His time at Anfield also brought four consecutive seasons in the Premier League top 4, the European Super Cup in 2005, and the FA Cup and Community Shield in 2006. But it was the Champions League record which marked him out as an absolutely outstanding operator - he won it once, finished runner-up once, and reached another semi-final and another quarter-final. Benitez left Liverpool to join Inter Milan in 2010, where he won the Italian Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, before he departed Italy in 2011.

Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce was born in Dudley in the West Midlands in 1954, and supported Wolverhampton Wanderers as a boy.Between 1973 and 1992, he played for Bolton Wanderers, Sunderland, Millwall, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Coventry City, Huddersfield Town, Preston North End, West Bromwich Albion and Limerick.His coaching and managerial career has been even longer. As a manager he has served at the helm of Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United, Sunderland, England, Crystal Palace and Everton. He kept Sunderland and Crystal Palace in the Premier League in season 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively. He resigned from Palace in May 2017, and was appointed manager of Everton at the end of November that same year. He left Everton in May 2018.As a player, Allardyce won the Second Division with Bolton in 1978. As a manager, he won the First Division in Ireland with Limerick in 1992, the Third Division with Notts County in 1998, the First Division Play-off final with Bolton in 2001 (where he also reached the League Cup final in 2004), and the Championship Play-off final with West Ham in 2012. In addition, he has won the Premier League Manager of the Month award on six separate occasions.

Warren Gatland

Born in Hamilton, New Zealand, in 1963, Warren Gatland played rugby for the provincial side Waikato for eight years, and made 17 non-international appearances for the All Blacks, before turning to coaching.He was the Head Coach of the British & Irish Lions squad which recorded an epic and thrilling Test series draw this summer against the mighty All Blacks. The result was the first time the Lions had not lost a series in New Zealand since 1971.Gatland also led the Lions on their triumphant tour of Australia in 2013, and he served as Assistant Coach on the 2009 tour of South Africa.He has been Head Coach of Wales since 2007, and in that time the Welsh have won the Grand Slam twice and the Six Nations three times.During his career, Gatland has also coached Connacht and the Irish national team, as well as Wasps.