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Six times Welsh rugby players were attacked in off-field incidents

By Ian Cameron
Andy Powell (Getty Images)

The attack on Gareth Thomas in Cardiff city centre last weekend was the latest in a sorry line of attacks on Welsh rugby players over the years.


While many would question the wisdom of starting a fight with a professional rugby player, the truth is because of their standing they are often seen as targets by aggressive drunks wanting to prove a point.

RugbyPass recalls the grim recent history of incidents involving Welsh rugby players.

Mike Phillips, 2008

Welsh scrumhalf Phillips received facial injuries when he was attacked in Cardiff City Centre in 2008. He was refused access to a bar and later found by passers-by lying unconscious in the street.

In a statement at the time, his club, the Ospreys said: “Mike Phillips was attacked in Cardiff City centre in the early hours of Sunday. He was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure and, following a check-up, was discharged from medical care.” The incident was reported to police.

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Andy Powell 2011

Powell was drinking with a Wasps teammate in a London bar in 2011 when he was set upon by a number of QPR fans. Initially what started as banter between Powell and a number of fans escalated into a full-on brawl. Powell was left with stitches after he was kicked, punched, glassed and hit on the head with a bar stool.

Powell told the Telegraph at the time: “There was blood everywhere. I think I lost around two pints of blood in the pub and was takenaway in an wheelchair and then taken by ambulance to a hospital where they stitched me up.”


Bradley Davies, 2011

Giant Welsh lock Bradley Davies was involved in a fight outside the Deck pub in in Pembrokeshire in 2011. The 6’7, 120kg forward was arrested after the incident involving as many as 30 people outside the bar in West Wales.

The then Cardiff Blues second-row was one of two men held overnight after an incident. Dyfed-Powys Police took no further action against the player.

Gavin Henson, 2013

Gavin Henson was famously knocked out by then Bath teammate Carl Fearns in a bar in Bath in 2013. Henson was a relatively new arrival at the club and of video of the incident that was released showing the short right hand that floored the Welsh player maker, went viral.

Henson would later admit that he had sunk over 20 pints on the evening that he was knokced out by the 18 stone plus Fearns.

Shane Williams, 2017

Shane Williams and his brother are assaulted by bouncers inside and outside a Cardiff City Centre pub last Christmas.

Williams and his brother were among a party of people celebrating a Welsh win over South Africa on December 2. A stranger had attempted to headbutt Shane Williams’ as the star posed for selfies with members of the public.

When the case went to trial, Cardiff Crown Court was shown CCTV footage of the incident where the bouncers in question could be seen man-handling the group out of the pub before assaulting them in the street. One of the bouncers could be seen choking Dean Williams until he passed out in the street.

The three bouncers in the case were found guilty.

Gareth Thomas, 2018

Thomas was attacked in Cardiff City Centre following the Wales match last weekend. South Wales Police confirmed that a 16-year-old boy admitted assaulting Thomas.

Thomas, capped 100 times by his country, posted a video on Twitter stating that he had been subjected to a homophobic attack in the Welsh capital. Thomas thanked police after he requested the teenager was dealt with by way of restorative justice so he could “learn more than any other way” following what he described as “a hate crime for my sexuality”.

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