Members of the Welsh Rugby Union were some of those lucky enough to meet the Queen this week during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
It was a massive honour to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, especially during our Grand Slam season
Six of the Grand Slam winning team - captain Sam Warburton, Ryan Jones, Dan Lydiate, Toby Faletau, Rhys Priestland, Jonathan Davies, along with interim head coach Rob Howley, team manager Alan Phillips and WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis were part of the line-up of groups and organisations who met Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh at Margam Park near Port Talbot on Thursday, while Stephen Jones, Leigh Halfpenny and kicking coach Neil Jenkins put on a kicking masterclass at the 'Diamonds in the Park' event at Glanusk on yesterday, the last stop on the royal tour of south Wales.
WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis said: "This youthful group of players epitomises a modern Wales - talented, innovative and hard-working. It's a fitting tribute that they were recognised in this way for everything they have achieved thus far."
Warburton added, "It was a massive honour to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, especially during our Grand Slam season. I was nervous of course, but it's something I can be very proud of."
Priestland, said, "It was a great experience to meet the Royal Family, and to be part of the occasion at Margam Park. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh asked who we played for, congratulated us on the Grand Slam and said that the Six Nations had been exciting. It's always great to come out into the community and meet people, especially since the Grand Slam, everyone wants to talk to you and that's fantastic."
RBS 6 Nations player of the tournament Dan Lydiate said, "I can't wait to put the photo on the mantelpiece, it's something I'll treasure."
Leigh Halfpenny led the kicking session at the festival of rural activities in Glanusk, near Crickhowell. Along with Stephen Jones and Neil Jenkins, he gave a group of young players from the Brecon, Builth Wells and Llandovery Rugby Clubs an invaluable experience, passing on tips and techniques to help them on their way. He said, "Reaching out to the community is part of what we do as a squad - young players are the future of our game and if we can help them on their rugby development pathway, that's great."
Kieran Elliott who plays for Llandovery Under 16s said, "I learned a lot about kicking out of hand and about place kicking in the session, it was a great experience to have the session with the Wales internationals."
Leigh Halfpenny added, "Afterwards, I was very nervous before meeting the Queen, not quite as nervous as before the France game this season, but it was right up there. It was a great experience and a great day."
Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
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