Following last week’s revelation that Wales flanker Dan Lydiate would be leaving French Top-14 side Racing Metro after a disappointing 18 month spell in Paris, I take a look at the Five worst Welsh sporting moves.
1. Andy Powell’s move to Béziers-
The much travelled 33 year-old backrower moved to the South of France after impressing as a youngster with Newport in the early 2000’s. But his time there was a disaster: after only four months with the French outfit his contract was cancelled by mutual consent after big problems with the language and culture.
2. Gavin Henson to RC Toulon-
Arguably the most talented player of his generation, controversy has dogged Henson’s career. After a 18 month self-imposed sabbatical from Rugby and a brief spell at Saracens, the ex-Ospreys star signed a five month contract with French giants RC Toulon in February 2012.
Two months later the former Grand Slam star was suspended after an alleged fight with team mates during a night out after a game against Toulouse.
Although Henson was re-integrated back in to the team following a hearing, he was released the following month by the club having made only two appearances.
3. Andy Powell’s move to Rugby League-
The controversial star makes the list for the second time after his disastrous spell with Wigan Warriors. Signed in April 2013, Powell struggled to make the transition from Union to League and played only five games for the Warriors before returning to Union with the Gwent Dragons this summer.
4. Ian Rush’s move to Juventus-
The Wales and Liverpool great’s spell in Turin was an unhappy one as Rush scored only eight times in 29 games. Faced with the better defences of Serie A and difficulties in adapting to life in Italy, which spawned the famous “It’s like living in a foreign country” quote (a quote which Rush said was a joke made up by Kenny Dalglish and which in an interview with the Irish Times in 2008, claimed that it was in fact a fictional quote).
After only a season in Serie A Rush returned to Liverpool in the summer of 1988 on a 2.8 million deal.
5. Jason Jones-Hughes from Australia to Wales-
Brought over to Wales at the behest of then Wales coach Graham Henry after his impressive form for the NSW Waratahs, the Sydney-born centre swapped Bondi beach for Rodney parade.
Fast-tracked into the Wales 1999 Rugby World Cup squad, the former Australia U21 star’s decision to switch allegiance from his native to country to the land of his parents caused a rumpus between the ARU and the WRU, as he had already turned out for the Australian Barbarians and toured Argentina with the Wallabies in 1997.
But alas it wasn’t to be: a series of injuries meant the 6ft 3in, 16st 5lbs powerhouse picked up only three caps for Wales and after a short spell with Munster, he was forced into retirement at the age of only 27.