It is sad to recall that 10 years ago at Cardiff this weekend – Sunday, April 20 to be precise – Neath RFC suffered a tragic blow when scrum-half Gareth Jones incurred a serious neck injury from which complications ultimately cost him his life.
The match had been switched to the Sunday for live S4C coverage and at the final whistle, in the most muted title celebrations, Neath (who lost the game 22-24) were crowned champions – but everyone’s thoughts were with Gareth Jones.
A fortnight later, Neath dedicated their WRU Cup final against Pontypridd to their young scrum-half whose life hung in the balance. The Blacks wore special “Snid” t-shirts for the warm-up and, most fittingly, completed the double with a 28-22 win.
Normally such an achievement would have presaged a summer of celebration … but it was not to be as Gareth Jones passed away on June 16, 2008.