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Wales's Answer To Harry Potter

19th July 2004

It's got to be the most long-awaited, sought after, book in Wales and there's not a bespectacled wizard in sight!

The world may have been chomping at the bit for the publication of 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince', but Welshmen have waited 27 years to read the 'Official WRU Grand Slam' book - new to bookshelves today.

This year coach Mike Ruddock's Grand Slam heroes ended almost three decades of hurt for Welsh rugby fans achieving what the likes of rugby greats Jonathan Davies, Scott Quinnell, Neil Jenkins and Ieuan Evans could only dream about before them - and the official book is now here to help us relive their amazing journey.

All moments have been recorded for posterity, from Gavin Henson's last gasp, long haul, kick to defeat England in the opening match of the Championship at the Millennium Stadium, to the moments of dawning realisation that 'our' Wales team was romping home to Grand Slam victory over Ireland, and all the highs, lows and ecstasy in between.

Behind the scenes, on the pitch, off the pitch, the celebrations, the hard work, all the blood sweat, tears and laughter along the way, it's all been gathered up and recorded in words and pictures - just in case you didn't quite believe it the first time! Wales's very own wing wizard Rhys Williams believes this book will cast its spell on the nation and become a best seller in its own right.

"The Grand Slam was a real boy's own adventure for every one of us, it really is the stuff dreams are made of," said Williams.

"And if the book can offer even a glimpse into that world then it's worth every penny. There might be some good fiction out there, like Harry Potter, but this is real, we really did this, and it takes your breath away just thinking about it!"

Wales Grand Slam 2005 offers in-depth analysis, facts figures of every game, first-hand accounts of the build up to and the realisation of the dream from the likes of Mike Ruddock, Gareth Thomas, Martyn Williams and observer opinions from legends Gerald Davies and Gareth Edwards.

The book profiles all of the 26 players that made it all happen and features stunning colour photography, including action from every game, and a fan's-eye view of Wales five steps to glory.

"The feeling in the squad when we completed the Grand Slam is not something I'm ever going to forget," said second row Rob Sidoli, who started every game in the tournament. "But the book certainly sums up the mood and takes you through each moment in wonderful detail."

John Yapp, made an impact from the bench in every match and, with six caps to his name, is still yet to lose a game for Wales.

"The memories are still very vivid for me, but it's been really interesting to read and see some of the pictures - it's a little weird looking at it all through someone else's eyes," added Yapp. "There's still a part of me that thinks, 'did we do that?', I've got a winner's medal to remind me, which is a help, but I'll be grabbing a copy of this book now and giving it pride of place on my book shelve."

The book retails at £15 online at and in all official WRU shops with sales set to benefit the grass roots game in Wales.