Few rugby players have matched the achievements of Welshman Mervyn Davies, the shrewd, gutsy number 8 with the heart of a lion. In what was a remarkable career, he won two Grand Slams, three Triple Crowns, earned thirty-eight consecutive Wales caps, was captain of his national team and played in two victorious Lions tours.
From the tail end of the 1960s through the first half of the glorious '70s period, 'Merv the Swerve' - with that mop of black hair and trademark headband - cut an iconic figure in the world's great rugby arenas. Teammates and opponents respected him, fans loved him and he was a natural leader of men both on and off the field.Then, in March 1976, everything changed. Mervyn was leading Swansea in a semi-final cup clash when he suffered a massive brain haemorrhage. He began that fateful Sunday preparing for just another high-profile game but ended it fighting for his life. Wales, and the watching sporting world, could do nothing but wait and hope. And just when the odds seemed stacked irreversibly against him, Mervyn did what he had always done: he beat them.
Mervyn's life story is one of what was and what might have been. From locker-room tales to the loneliness of rehabilitation, Mervyn's account is funny, moving and honest. He writes about his many highs and lows, about losing rugby but regaining his life, and shares his thoughts on the days he spent in shadow and in strength.
Mervyn Davies was born in 1946 and played for London Welsh, Swansea, the British Lions teams of 1971 and 1974, and the Welsh national side and in later years was chairman of the Welsh Rugby Former International Players Association. He died in March 2012 following a long battle against lung cancer, just one day prior to Wales' Grand Slam victory against France. David Roach runs a copywriting agency called Red 10 Creative. He was born in Wales but now lives in Oxford. In 2002, he worked with former Llanelli and Wales scrum-half Rupert Moon on the acclaimed autobiography, Full Moon.