Teleri Wyn Davies will make her first start for Wales Women against France tomorrow evening (Sat, 8pm BST, BBC iplayer), an opportunity that means so much to her whole family.
Teleri’s family life was ‘shattered to pieces’ by a life-changing rugby injury to her father, Bala’s Bryan ‘Yogi’ Davies who sadly passed away in 2013.
However, a heart-to-heart conversation with him as a teenager revealed that if he could do one thing again, he would spend the day playing the game he loved so much. So Teleri decided to return to rugby, a game she enjoyed before the accident, for her beloved dad.
She played and captained Caernarfon and even started a girls’ team at Bala. After Bryan’s death in 2013, she completed the work he’d started to build an extension to the Bala clubhouse was completed so that children could share a meal together after games.
The second row’s proudest moment to date was coming off the bench at Parc Eirias to win her first and only cap to date – against Scotland in 2018. “That was a huge honour and privilege particularly because of what had happened with my dad. I basically had the whole of north Wales supporting me so that was amazing.”
That may have been the end of Teleri’s international career but lockdown forced her to reassess her goals. “I realised I wanted to take rugby further. It was my father’s dream initially and I want to carry on his legacy, his name if you like. That’s what pushes me when I feel low or if times are tough. That’s my ‘why’. I feel closest to my dad when I’m playing rugby. However, at this stage I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t my dream too. I realised that during the first lockdown. I realised I wanted to take rugby further.
“I had a call from Sale Sharks coach Darren Lamon and that was the motivation I needed. It meant I had to step down as Caernarfon captain but it’s something I needed to do and I’m loving it. To get the call to rejoin the Wales set-up so soon was incredible and to be in the starting XV against France is surreal really, I wanted to scream when the team was announced! It’s an opportunity I will take with both hands.”
Teleri, who is a trainee solicitor in Bala having gained a First Class Honours from Bangor University, says her family has been with her every step of the way. “I’ve had incredible support from my family and friends. I don’t know how my mother watches me play having lost her husband in the way she did. But she knows how much it means to me and that I’m doing it for dad so she’s given me her full support. The same with my brother and my grandparents.”
No doubt the whole of North Wales will be supporting Teleri this weekend.
“I just want to keep challenging myself and enjoying my rugby. We’ve all been playing with and against some of the best female players in the country in the Allianz Premier 15s and my game has come on so much since the start of the season. It’s exciting to see where we can go from here.”