Interview With Terry Holmes

We are delighted that Terry has agreed to this interview with Y Ddraig.  We appreciate that he stays out of the limelight nowadays, so massive thanks to him for agreeing to meet us and give us his time.

We put together the following questions for Terry.

1/ You played for Cardiff RFC for 10 seasons.  Can you describe how you felt making your debut for the club, especially the fact that the number 9 shirt that you wore, had only recently been vacated by the great Gareth Edwards?

Answer – I didn’t have much time to think about it as on Friday night, I played for Cardiff and districts in the District Cup Final and then on the Saturday against Newport for the Cardiff first 15. It always had been an ambition to play for the great Cardiff club as I’d started as an under 11’s season ticket holder, a ball boy and for Cardiff Youth.  Obviously, following the greatest ever player in the world was always going to be difficult, but instead of trying to be the same as him, I decided just to be myself and play my own game.

2/ You made your debut for Wales in Australia in 1978 as a 21-year-old, and you went on to win 25 caps, scoring 9 tries and captaining your country in the process.  Can you describe the feeling of playing and captaining your country?

Answer – Playing and captaining Wales, other than the birth of my two girls, was the best thing I’ve done, as I was born a couple of hundred yards from the national stadium so to then go on and play there, was a dream come true. 

3/ Against all the fantastic players you played with, who in your opinion was the best?

Picture Credit:

Answer – Gareth Davies, he was before his time, in the way he was able to dictate the game, similar to many New Zealand outside halves such as Dan Carter.

4/ Against all the fantastic players you played against in your career, who was the best player you played against?

Picture Credit:

Answer – Philipe Sella. A great player.

5/ Your final international rugby union match was against Fiji in 1985 before moving to Bradford Northern to play Rugby League.  How did this move come about and could the WRU have done anything to have kept you in Rugby Union at the time?

Answer – Bradford Northern had made several approaches, and for me, the time was just right as I didn’t think I had many years left in either code, due to my deteriorating knee. The game was still totally amateur in Wales at the time, so there was nothing they could’ve done to persuade me to stay.

6/ Did you find rugby skills and ability vastly different between Rugby Union and Rugby League in your time with Bradford Northern before injury cut your career short after only 40 games?

Answer – There were many similar skills, but the biggest difference was in Rugby League there was a lot more organisational play in the build-up to set moves, and also, every game would be very tough regardless of what position the clubs were because people were playing for mortgages and family upkeep.

7/ Did you enjoy your stint in Rugby League?  Did you believe you had the ability to be a top star in the sport as some other converts were in future years?

Answer – I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Rugby League, my only regret is that my body was not 100% to justify their investment in me. If injuries hadn’t curtailed my retirement, I do believe I could’ve progressed in the game.

8/ Do you wish you had been born 20 years later and been able to play Rugby Union professionally?

Answer – Yes and No. Yes because the financial rewards and the ability to go full-time with advances in sports science would obviously improve performances and skill sets, but, on the other hand, would the enjoyment level? I was very fortunate to experience what I did.

9/ Who is the best coach you ever worked under?

Answer – Alec Evans. The Australian is a fountain of knowledge of the game.

10/ You went on two British and Irish Lions tours in 1980 and 1983, playing in one test match against South Africa in 1980.  Both times injuries cut short your tour, which must have been huge disappointments.  Did the coaching staff confide that you were to be the test scrum half on those tours prior to your injuries?

Answer – No, there was no pre-conversations about test positions until the announcement of the team. 

11/ You played with many great characters throughout your career, who was the biggest character and why?

Answer – Tony Charlie Faulkner – A laugh a minute.

12/ This year you were voted in twenty-seventh place in a vote for the hardest rugby players in Welsh Rugby history, not bad for a scrum-half!  Who in your career was the toughest rugby player?

Answer – Bob Lakin.  He was always at the bottom of a ruck, never moaned and always got up.

13/ What is the biggest disappointment/regret in your rugby career?

Answer – My injuries on both Lions tours and the 1978 loss to New Zealand at The Cardiff Arms Park when Andy Haden and Frank Oliver introduced diving to the sport.

14/ Are you still involved in rugby? And if not, would you like to get back in some capacity?

Answer – Not involved at the moment.  Would only be interested in a consultancy role, as the game changes yearly and if you’re not constantly involved, it’s difficult to keep up with all the game changes.

15/ Can you please name a greatest fifteen by position please that you have played in your illustrious career?

Answer – 

15 – Serge Blanco
14 – Gerald Davies
13 – Philipe Sella
12 – Danny Gerber
11 – Adrian Hadley
10 – Gareth Davies 
9 – Dave Loveridge
8 – John Scott
7 – Rob Louw
6 – Geoff Squire
5 – Robert Norster
4 – Geoff Wheel
3 – Graham Price
2 – Alan Phillips
1 – Charlie Faulkner 


Thanks again to Terry for this interview. We have absolutely loved doing this interview and for you sharing your memories with us and we are sure all the rugby fans out there are going to love reading your thoughts. Thanks for all the happy memories from one of the greatest scrum-halves Wales have ever produced.

Feature Picture Credit: