Win a copy of Behind the Dragon

Behind the Dragon is the latest player-led history in the Polaris Publishing series, with Welsh rugby players from across the ages relating their own views and experiences.

For a full review of the book, click here.

On this page, we’ll offer just a morsel and it comes from Scott Baldwin, the Wales hooker famously bitten by a lion in a South African game reserve in 2017. He’s discussing time at a national training camp.

“There was a genuine sense of camaraderie between the boys. Everyone got on brilliantly and Gats helped to foster a club mentality,” begins Baldwin.

“I was rooming with Samson Lee, which was an experience in itself. He liked to go to bed at eight o’clock and told me to get up and turn him on his side if he snored. It didn’t really work and I was down on my sleep after a few nights. He was up bright and early every day and on our first day off, I attempted to have a lie-in.

“It was ruined by a loud knock at the door. It was a DPS delivery guy with a parcel for Samson. A big, brown box. When he came back later and opened it up, it was full of money. Reams of it. I said, ‘Sams, what the hell is that?’

‘Money, butt.’

‘What for?’

‘I ran out, so I had the missus send it up.’

“It turned out they only had one bank card between them and he’d never used it because he didn’t know how. His missus looked after the finances and would just dole out the money as and when he needed it. When he got his first pay cheque at the Scarlets, he went into the chairman’s office to ask what ‘tax‘ meant and why it had been deducted from his wages. He didn’t have a scooby.”

Wales front row, 2016

Coalface: Samson Lee and Scott Baldwin, left and middle, pack down v England in 2016 (Huw Evans Agency)

Ross Harries is the author of the book and explains how the project began when he was approached at the bar during an awards evening at Lord’s.

“As anyone who’s written a book will know, it can be a lonely, solitary pursuit, and there are times when you want to take a match to your manuscript and watch it go up in flames,” he writes in the foreword.

“It’s been an epic journey, and a privilege to delve deep into the treasure trove of memories shared by those who have proudly worn the three feathers during more than a hundred years of rugby history. In this sense, my role has been that of curator.

“I owe an enormous debt of thanks to all the players and coaches, past and present, who’ve given so generously of their time and been so candid and entertaining in their recollections. Without their cooperation, this book simply wouldn’t exist.”

Behind the Dragon: Playing Rugby for Wales is published by Polaris, RRP £20, and it comes highly recommended. You can buy it here.

Polaris have kindly provided us with six copies to give away. For a chance to win one, answer the question below and fill in your details. The competition closes on Friday 19 July.

Wales player for Behind the Dragon book competition

Overdoing it: this player hit trouble during a conditioning camp but who is he? (CameraSport/Getty)

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Terms and conditions

The competition closes at 23.59pm on Friday 19 July 2019.

Six winners will be selected at random, each winning a copy of the book Behind the Dragon by Ross Harries.

Normal TI Media Limited competition rules apply. Competition details form part of these terms and conditions. Entry is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands and Republic of Ireland except employees (and their families) of TI Media Limited, its printers and agents, the suppliers of the prizes and any other companies associated with the competitions. The winners must be aged 18 or over. Proof of identity and age may be required. Use of a false name or address will result in disqualification. All entries must be made directly by the person entering the competition. Entries made online using methods generated by a script, macro or the use of automated devices will be void. The prizes are as stated, are not transferable to another individual and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. Prizes are subject to availability and the prize suppliers’ terms and conditions. The promoters reserve the right to amend or alter the terms of competitions and reject entries from entrants not entering into the spirit of the competition. The winner agrees to the use of his or her name, photograph and disclosure of county of residence and will co-operate with any other reasonable requests by TI Media Limited relating to any post-winning publicity. The winners will be chosen from all correct entries received by the closing date stated within the promotional material. Winners will be confirmed in writing. Reasonable efforts will be made to contact a winner. Failure to respond and/or provide an address for delivery, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the prize. If they cannot be contacted, or are unable to comply with these terms and conditions, the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to the next eligible entrant drawn at random. Where applicable, the decision of the judges is final based on the criteria set out in the promotion and no correspondence will be entered into over this decision. Competitions may be modified or withdrawn at any time. The Service Provider and contact details are specified within the promotional material. When you enter this competition you are consenting to be added to the regular MBR newsletters and that TI Media Limited and its partners may contact you about relevant products or services and research via email. You can opt out at any time via the unsubscribe messages in the emails you are sent.