Martin Bayfield’s Rugby Legends

October 9, 2022 by

With the rugby season well underway and the delicious prospect of international rugby just around the corner, it was timely that Martin Bayfield brought his ‘Rugby Legends’ show to the Welsh capital.

Bayfield, a 6’ 10”  former England and British Lions lock, has forged a successful career off the field as a journalist, tv presenter and sometime film actor, most notably as a body double for Hagrid in the Harry Potter films. Joining him on stage for this date on the tour are two former players who comfortably eclipsed Bayfield’s achievements on the field; England’s world cup winning captain Martin Johnson and Wales’ multiple grand slam winning captain Sam Warburton. Both players captained successive Lions tours – the only to do so in the history of the game.


Bringing two giants – physically and metaphorically –  of English rugby to the Welsh capital was always going to be a hard sell. So it proved on the night with the crowd numbers a little disappointing. Even the draw of local boy Warburton was not enough to boost the crowd to more than half full.


Over the course of the evening, we had a smattering of amusing anecdotes from the more lawless and violent amateur era as well as some insights into how rugby has changed in the professional era as Bayfield and Johnson’s careers spanned both. There were stories about the frequent punch-ups on the pitch during the 1990s, the rivalries between Wales and England and the countries Warburton and Johnson would like to represent if not their own (England and Canada respectively).


Bayfield’s experience as an after-dinner speaker and presenter showed on the night with slick anecdotes that provided the bulk of the humour. One recollection about the journey home after a loss to Wales in Cardiff and the subsequent heckling from Gwent police traffic cops all the way to the Severn Bridge provided much amusement for the crowd. The same was true of the numerous stories about fellow police officer Wade Dooley and his uncompromising approach to the game (some would say thuggish) which would have surely meant he would be unable to play in the modern era with tv cameras capturing every moment.


One criticism of the night was the lack of audience questions asked by Bayfield. After requesting spectators to submit their questions in the half time break using the QR code projected onto the big screen, it was a shame that only one question was used by Bayfield. A bit more discipline from Bayfield as an interviewer to keep the answers from Warburton and Johnson tighter would have seen a lot more questions from the audience fielded.


Nevertheless, this was an entertaining evening that would have left most of the ardent rugby fans gathered at St David’s Hall satisfied.








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