Ray Giles is aware of all about challenges, having vied with Terry Holmes, David Bishop and Robert Jones for the Wales No 9 jersey.
Now he’s simply accomplished his newest one, a 60-mile charity cycle experience to coincide along with his sixtieth birthday.
The three-times capped former Aberavon and Cardiff scrum-half took to his bike as a part of his fund-raising efforts for Prostate Cymru, for which he’s a long-standing ambassador.
It’s a link-up that stems from a well being scare he went by when he was in his early 40s.
“About 17 years in the past, I had suspected testicular most cancers,” he reveals.
“So I went in to see Andy Thomas, the pinnacle urologist at Princess of Wales hospital, in Bridgend, who handled me.
“Because it turned out, it wasn’t most cancers and I had the all-clear.
“We acquired chatting and he informed me he had simply arrange a charity for prostate most cancers and requested if I’d prefer to become involved.
“So I went away and considered it and had a glance.
“Prostate most cancers is a lethal man’s illness and I felt no one was talking up about it, so I joined Andy and Ray Murray with the charity and I’ve been with it ever since.
“We had been referred to as Glaze once we first began after which re-branded as Prostate Cymru.
“It’s actually taken off. I do the fund-raising a part of issues and attempt to elevate the attention and encourage individuals.”
Giles had no scarcity of motivation as a participant, with the Wales scrum-half place having been such a aggressive one within the Eighties.
As he factors out, along with Holmes, Bishop and Jones, there was additionally Llanelli’s Mark Douglas, who received three caps in 1984.
“We had been all battling it out,” he remembers.
“Terry was the person for fairly some time after which Rob got here in from nowhere actually and stole the thunder from us all.”
Giles made his Check debut in opposition to Romania in 1983, received a second cap versus Fiji two years later after which had his last outing for Wales through the 1987 World Cup, when he confronted Canada in Invercargill, proper down on the backside of New Zealand’s south island.
There have been additionally a lot of events the place he was an unused sub, together with the opposite 5 matches on the inaugural World Cup when he was back-up to Robert Jones.
“I solely had the one sport in 5 weeks!” he displays.
“It was completely completely different then. It was an 80 minute sport then for the beginning gamers.
“Now your subs are tactical. You possibly can win matches along with your bench.
“In our day, should you had been having a foul sport, you had been on there anyway.
“The principles had been rather a lot stricter then. Someone must come off injured earlier than you might go on.
“You weren’t allowed to do the tactical stuff now you can.”
Trying again on that 1987 World Cup, the place Wales completed third, he says: “It was all model new. No person knew something about it.
“It was an eye-opener how skilled New Zealand and Australia had been of their set-ups and the best way the gamers performed themselves.
“We had been fortunate sufficient to mingle with them and discuss and choose a number of brains.
“Flipping heck, they had been miles in entrance of us.
“We did effectively to do what we did.
“It was an enormous privilege and an honour to be part of the third-place workforce.”
Born and bred in Kenfig Hill, father-of-two Giles performed his entire profession within the novice period, primarily for the Wizards.
“You labored exhausting in two methods in these days,” he stated.
“I used to be working 12 hour shifts on the opencast mine in Llanharan and going straight from there to coaching.
“However that’s the best way it was.
“You performed rugby since you loved it and also you simply wished to play effectively in your membership.”
There was additionally that burning want to symbolize your nation.
“After you have a bit of sniff of it, you need extra,” he says.
“You simply work exhausting and preserve going.
“I simply stored plugging away. I went to squad coaching when referred to as after which openings occurred and also you simply take them.
“Typically I believe I used to be enjoying effectively sufficient on the time to have snuck one other cap maybe.
“However I’m actually honoured and privileged to have performed for Wales.
“After I go to the matches now on the stadium and meet the blokes within the ex-internationals bar, I take my greatest mate Neale Doughty.
“He received the Grand Nationwide on Hi there Dandy in 1984, the yr after I acquired capped.
“We go to the internationals dwelling and away and we discuss and say how privileged we each had been – for him to win the Nationwide and me to play for Wales, each of us from the identical village.
“I very really feel very humbled to have performed for my nation. It’s one thing I cherish. It’s my a part of historical past.”
After hanging up his boots, following a few seasons with Cardiff, Giles spent seven years teaching Wales Youth within the Nineteen Nineties.
“That was unbelievable, I liked that,” he stated.
“I coached the likes of Ryan Jones, Gavin Henson, Jonathan Thomas, Matthew J Watkins.
“It was nice with the ability to put one thing again in.”
Away from rugby, he has been employed for the final 26 years at Port Talbot metal works, the place he spends his time on the coal-blending plant.
He nonetheless stays concerned within the sport as a committee member at his dwelling village membership of Kenfig Hill RFC, the place he helped arrange the junior part greater than 30 years in the past.
And it was from the membership that he set out on his bike experience.
“I believed ‘I’m 60, okay I’ll do 60 miles,” he explains.
“It was 100kms, so 62 miles really!
“It was a bit nippy on the market.
“I did a little bit of the Neath-Port Talbot valley, however I stayed away from the mountains due to the ice on the street.
“I used to be right into a little bit of a head-wind on the best way again. It was head down, bottom up all the best way dwelling!
“I did it in about 4 and a half hours ultimately. Not too unhealthy.
“The donations are as much as £3,000. It has taken off effectively, so I’m more than pleased.”
And as he enters a brand new decade, Giles is a reasonably contented man all spherical.
“I went around the world enjoying rugby, which lots of people don’t do,” he stated.
“I used to be very fortunate sufficient to do this.
“Considering again, my daughter was born a few weeks earlier than we went out to the World Cup in 1987. Now I’ve acquired grandchildren and I’m 60. The time has simply flown previous.
“I used to be privileged to play for Wales, I’m privileged to be a part of the charity and I’m very privileged to have a unbelievable household.
“As you become older, you get a bit softer and extra emotional. It’s been an amazing journey.”