Wales v RGC 1404: When warm-up matches go bad

Media playback is not supported on this device

Warm-up games? Not for me, says Martyn Williams
Friendly: RGC 1404 v Wales
Venue: Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay Dates: 2 June Kick-off: 19:00 BST
Coverage: Updates on BBC Radio Wales and match report on the BBC Sport Website.

Wales will have the novelty of playing against semi-professional club opposition when they face Welsh Premiership side RGC 1404 at Parc Eirias on Friday.

The game is part of a six-day training camp in north Wales before the squad fly to the southern hemisphere to play Tonga on 17 June and Samoa on 24 June.

There will be no international caps awarded for the game, which will essentially be a training exercise played in front of a sell-out crowd and a television audience.

But Wales should be warned - sometimes warm-up matches and friendlies can lead to embarrassing results, as BBC Wales Sport discovers as it delves into the archives.

Bridgend beat Wales in 1989

Media playback is not supported on this device

Bridgend claim a shock win over Wales in 1989.

This was not a vintage year for Wales, who finished bottom of the Five Nations despite victory over England on the final weekend.

Even after that disappointing campaign, however, they were expected to make light work of Bridgend at the Brewery Field.

Instead, Bridgend claimed an unlikely 24-17 victory, thanks in part to a fine try by scrum-half Kevin Ellis.

Wales were coached by John Ryan, who, at the time of his appointment, was the only man to take the job despite never playing rugby for Wales.

This abysmal result proved to be something of a sign of things to come, as a 34-6 loss to England at Twickenham led to Ryan's resignation.

Easter routs Wales at Twickenham

Nick Easter
Nick Easter enjoys his four tries for England against Wales at Twickenham in 2007

If Ryan's reign was one to forget, Gareth Jenkins' was not much better.

A record of 13 defeats from 20 matches told its own story, and one of the most galling losses came in a warm-up game for the 2007 World Cup.

Such fixtures are usually an opportunity to experiment but, considering this was against then world champions England playing on their own turf, this was probably not the moment to select a second string.

Jenkins did so and England won 62-5, with number eight Nick Easter scoring four tries.

Just a few months later, Jenkins left his role after an embarrassing World Cup group-stage exit at the hands of Fiji.

Gould's Wales take on the media

Dean Saunders
Dean Saunders in action for Wales against Germany in 1995 - days after taking on the Welsh press

Bobby Gould's reign as Wales football manager was controversial, often ill-tempered and littered with some terrible results.

His tenure was also wildly unpredictable - as his choice of friendly opponents proved.

Just two days before a European Championship qualifier against Germany in 1995, Gould decided to arrange a game against the local media.

BBC Wales Sport football correspondent Rob Phillips was there but, thankfully for him, just a spectator.

"Ryan Giggs, Dean Saunders and the rest were slightly bemused as the assembled media men lined up against those whom they had praised - and often criticised," he recalls.

"But Wales' players were in game mode from the kick-off. Then Sun journalist John Richardson had the scar to prove it after an uncompromising challenge from Saunders in the opening salvo.

"The pen is mightier than the sword. But on this day, the boot prevailed. Wales beat the press 3-0. Two days later Germany wrote their own script - winning 2-1."

Leyton Orient embarrass Wales

Bobby Gould
Former Wales manager Bobby Gould (left) with players including Robbie Savage (third left) and Gary Speed (right)

Not content with a kickabout against a bunch of journalists, Gould also ordered Wales to take on a Leyton Orient team who had just finished 89th out of 92 in the Football League in 1996.

With the likes of Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs available, this was meant to be the easiest of run-outs for Wales.

Things appeared to be going swimmingly at first, with John Robinson putting Wales ahead.

But Leyton Orient equalised and then the unthinkable happened as a triallist scored to secure victory for the hosts at Brisbane Road.

Calzaghe's famous Lacy bout in jeopardy

Joe Calzaghe
Joe Calzaghe (right) lands a blow in his fight against Evans Ashira

Wales' undefeated WBO super middleweight Joe Calzaghe had all but agreed a unification fight years in the making against American Jeff Lacy when disaster struck in his warm-up fight.

Calzaghe broke his left hand just three rounds into his contest with Evans Ashira in 2005 and had to jab his way to victory against the Kenyan.

The result? A four-month delay before the Lacy fight took place as Calzaghe worried night and day about his injured hand.

However, the result did not affect the outcome, with most people recognising Calzaghe's destruction of Lacy as his greatest performance.

Top Stories