It’s not often darts and rugby share athletes in the way that union does with league and American football, but Gerwyn Price isn’t an ordinary athlete.
In fact, the newly-crowned world darts champion who used to semi-professional rugby in Wales had enough potential in the XV-man code that an ex-rugby international believes he would have been good enough to play for the British and Irish Lions.
Price became the first Welshman to claim the PDC World Darts Championship in London over the weekend, seven years after taking up darts professionally.
Prior to that, the 35-year-old represented Wales in age-grade rugby as a hooker and had a brief stint with PRO14 club Glasgow Warriors as injury cover for current Scotland hooker Fraser Brown.
He also played for leading Welsh Premier Division clubs Neath and Cross Keys, helping the latter win the Welsh Challenge Cup final and make the British and Irish Cup final in 2012.
Additionally, Price had a spell playing professional rugby league for the lower-tier West Wales Raiders, known as the South Wales Scorpions during his time at the club.
While he never reached the greatest of heights in rugby union, Price could well have forged a decent international career had he stuck to the sport, according to former Welsh international Mark Ring.
Ring, a 32-test midfielder who represented Wales between 1983 and 1991, coached Price at Cross Keys, and saw plenty of potential in the former front-rower, telling WalesOnline the darts star “could definitely have gone on to play for Wales and the Lions if he’d perhaps applied himself a little sooner’”.
“In my view he could have been right up there with Ken Owens – and that’s saying something because I really rate Ken, probably as the best hooker in the northern hemisphere,” Ring said.
“Technically, Gezzy was brilliant. He threw the ball into a lineout on a sixpence, he was a really good scrummager and his work in the loose was outstanding. He had pace to burn.”
View this post on Instagram
Ring recalled a try scored by Price in the Welsh Cup final win over Pontypridd as a testament to his ability in rugby.
“From our own half he pretty much gassed up the field, left their winger standing and dived over in the corner,” Ring said.
“When it was awarded, Gerwyn’s reaction was something to behold as he and the rest of the ream celebrated. Big roar of ‘Yeeessss’ from him, chest puffed out – just like we see these days when he hits a 180, gets a great double to finish, or wins the world title.’’
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now