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Adams talks Lions and family ahead of dream tour

Cardiff Blues and Wales winger Josh Adams who has been named in the squad for the British & Irish Lions 2021 tour to South Africa

Adams talks Lions and family ahead of dream tour

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Josh Adams has two dates in his mind for major deliveries and celebrations this summer when he makes his first tour with the British & Irish lions.

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Like everyone else in Warren Gatland’s 37-strong squad, the Wales wing has pencilled in the first Test against the world champion Springboks at the FNB National Stadium in Johannesburg on July 24 as a major goal. It is a life-long rugby dream on which he intends to deliver.

But by then he will have already had something very special happen in his life with the arrival of his first child nine days earlier. His fiancée, Georgia, and his daughter can expect a Test try to be delivered to them as the perfect way to mark the occasion.

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While Leicester Tigers and England scrum half Ben Youngs withdrew his name for consideration for the tour because his wife is expecting their third child this summer, Adams talked through the family dilemma with his fiancée and was given the green light to go if selected.

Down the years sportsmen have dealt with the impending arrival of children in their families in different ways. Michael Owen flew home to Wales from the Lions tour of New Zealand in 2005 to be with his wife, Lucy, for the birth of their second child.

He played against the New Zealand Maori on the Saturday, arrived in Cardiff on Monday morning, attended the birth, and then returned to New Zealand on Tuesday morning.

By contrast, when the legendary Cardiff and Wales centre Dr Jack Matthews went on the 29-match 1950 tour to New Zealand and Australia, he had to leave his pregnant wife on her own.

The squad left by boat on April 1 and returned on October 7. When he arrived back home, Dr Jack was able to meet his two-month-old son, Peter, for the first time.

Josh Adams scorches to the line to score for Cardiff Blues against Dragons

“Georgia and I sat down and talked about what might happen if I was selected for the Lions and we came to a decision that if I was called upon, then I would go. I’m so happy she gave me her full blessing to go and do our family proud,” said Adams.

“It has been difficult, but she has been fantastic. She understands how hard I’ve worked in the weeks and years gone by and is fully behind this decision, even though it means she is going to be giving birth without me.

“It wouldn’t have worked unless we had sat down and had those conversations. She’s been unbelievable really and I’ve had advice off family as well.

“They said this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and they are all behind me. I’m going to go out there to do them all proud.

“It is always tough going on tour and I’ve found it a lot tougher as the years have gone by, especially being away from Georgia.”

They said this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and they are all behind me. I’m going to go out there to do them all proud

Adams helped Wales to win the 2021 Guinness Six Nations title as Wayne Pivac’s team came within a cat’s whisker of a second Grand Slam in three years.

The Cardiff Blues wing missed the first two games with Ireland and Scotland for breaching Covid-19 rules, but bounced back strongly to score against England on his return to the team.

He also crossed the whitewash in the win over Italy and the heart-breaking defeat by France to move to 17 tries from 32 Welsh Tests.

“Honesty is the best policy in these situations and I held my hand up straight away. You have to be honest with the coaches because they trust you and I think that trust was repaid because I was selected when I was eligible to play again,” admitted Adams.

Josh Adams celebrates Six Nations title success with Wales this year

Honesty is the best policy in these situations and I held my hand up straight away. You have to be honest with the coaches because they trust you and I think that trust was repaid because I was selected when I was eligible to play again

Adams continued: “It was fairly simple, I made an error of judgement. I think it was dealt with perfectly and it was brilliant I had full support from all the coaches and players. They were terrific in the whole process.

“I cracked on with things, kept my head down, and worked extremely hard in the two weeks I was not able to play. As soon as I came back in it was business as usual and, thankfully, I was back in the team against England.”

Adams, the top try-scorer at the 2019 World Cup, will head to South Africa this summer not only as a leading candidate for a Test spot, but also with a little bit of revenge in mind.

The 14-13 defeat he suffered in an Under-18 international against the Springboks in Boland still hurts, but the scars inflicted in the World Cup semi-final defeat two years ago can only be erased by helping the Lions to a series win over Siya Kolisi’s world champion South Africans.

Adams was the top try-scorer at the 2019 World Cup in Japan. He scored against South Africa in the semi-final and will face the Springboks again this summer

“We certainly pushed them close in that semi-final. We matched them physically and that will be a massive part of it this summer,” Adams added.

“I was just gutted and devastated to lose that game because of how hard we had worked throughout the whole process, from the training camps and through the tournament. We believed in what we were doing and we were so close, which was the most agonising part.

“We were a kick away from reaching the final and it was tough to take at the time. Now I’m going to South Africa with the Lions looking to win a Test series.

“That is first and foremost on the list. Sightseeing and experiencing the culture is normally a part of any Lions tour, but with all the Covid implications and restrictions being in a secure bubble will be massively important.

“I don’t know too much detail yet, but I know there will be a lot in place to keep us occupied and safe at the same time.”

We were a kick away from reaching the final and it was tough to take at the time. Now I’m going to South Africa with the Lions looking to win a Test series

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