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  • Gavin Thomas


Updated: Apr 4, 2022

Podcast regular Gavin Thomas tells us why he is putting his body on the line.

Anyone who has listened to me on the pod will know two things about me, one I really (no REALLY) like Jonah Holmes and two, I’m fairly old…The second of these things is possibly more important as I am about to undertake playing two games of rugby in 24 hours, 300 miles apart. This is partially a mid-life crisis. I have no sense of balance so a motor bike is not an option, and my hair line is not supporting a pony tail.

So as a result the delusion that I can play rugby is how my mid-life crisis manifests itself. The other reason for this massive writing of cheques my body has no chance of cashing is in September 2020 my friend, and teammate Nick Giles died at the age of 33. Nick was a tight-head prop and took on life in the same manner as a scrummage. He was uncompromising, fairly direct in terms of getting to the point and had a razor sharp sense of humour. He’d had a struggle with cancer for three years, and we all thought he was clear. At the beginning of lockdown he was admitted to hospital with what was believed to be Covid, only to discover the cancer had come roaring back, Two weeks prior to this he had played a cup semi final against a higher league team, unbeknownst to us with Stage 4 cancer. He still caused havoc for his opposite number. Like myself, Nick didn’t hold with the concept of rugby values. He often described Richie McCaw as a professional cheat but he did love the social aspects of grassroots rugby.

He loved a drink with his teammates and the opposition, he loved a tour and absolutely more than anything else liked an out of context song. Playing in a tournament in South London he led the front row in a verse of “If I could turn back time” and gleefully sang “Roling” by Limp Bizkit as he trapped a back rower in the ruck actively preventing him from doing that. He was a shithouses shithouse and I loved him dearly. So which is why myself, and a number of his teammates from St Leonards CP RFC, former teammates and an all-star selection of rugby podcasters have formed Nick Giles RFC. A charity team that we hope will raise a sizeable amount of money and awareness for Melanoma UK. Nick introduced me to rugby youtube (he was a massive Squidge fan) and the idea that his life, and rugby career is being discussed on rugby websites and podcasts would bemuse him but also really please him.

Rugby is a great sport, but more importantly it’s full of great people. Nick was a great player, and a great bloke and the fact that 25+ men are congregating in a far-flung part of the country is testament to them, to Nick and to what actually are real rugby values (Exeter drinking on the field after a game doesn’t count, that’s literally just having drinks with your work mates).

Gav plays the first of his games on Saturday 9th April in Southport before kicking off in Hastings on the 10th.

All donations can be made here;

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