Members of the Welsh team meet up with England cricket legend, Sir Ian Botham at the Swalec Stadium.
Huw Evans Picture Agency
Wales and British Lions fly-half Stephen Jones swapped rugby for cricket today as he was joined by a host of his international team-mates at the first Ashes test to be played in Cardiff.
Jones and fellow Welsh internationals Jonathan Thomas, Mark Jones, Ian Evans and Gareth Cooper paraded the James Bevan Trophy - named after the Australian-born Welshman who was first to captain his country in 1881 in a match against England - around the Sophia Gardens ground during the lunch break of England's battle with Australia.
The trophy is currently retained by Wales after a 21-18 victory during last season's autumn Test series, but will be up for grabs again this November (28th) when the Wallabies come to town for the Invesco Perpetuall Series 2009 at the Millennium Stadium - with tickets for that match and clashes with New Zealand, Argentina and Samoa all on sale today via www.wru.co.uk/tickets and the NEW ticket holtine 08442 777 888.
Unlike the 100-plus year old Ashes, Bevan was honoured by the creation of this trophy as recently in May 2007, when the rugby Unions of Wales and Australia celebrated the 100th year of Test rugby between the two countries, and since then trophy has changed hands twice with Wales the current holders.
Gareth Davies, Head of Australia & New Zealand, International Business Wales who commissioned the trophy, said at the time of its creation:
"We are pleased to present this trophy to the two sides that have so much history between them."
Davies, a former captain of Wales himself during the 1980s, felt the newly created trophy would serve as a permanent reminder of the first captain in Wales's rugby history.
"Both Wales and Australia are highly passionate rugby nations and it is appropriate that the new trophy is named after a man who shared a great affinity between these two countries," added Davies.
"History also extends beyond the playing field. Our countries have long been doing business together and there are a number of great Australian success stories; companies that have chosen Wales as the ideal base from which to expand their operations globally."
WRU Chairman David Pickering said, "As a former captain of Wales myself, it is always humbling to learn about the history of rugby union and about those who have paved the way for the game's growth and development as a sport. This trophy represents the rugby communities of Wales and Australia and will serve to help remind us all of the early days of rugby union."
James Bevan's grandson, David, who lives in Wiltshire said, "The news there was to be a James Bevan Trophy was very exciting for us as a family. Although James only played, and captained Wales on the one occasion, against England in 1881, we feel it is a fitting tribute to him as the first ever captain of the Welsh rugby team. He was known in the family as a great character and we are very proud."
ARU President Paul McLean said the James Bevan Trophy was a fitting symbol of the long-standing affiliation between the two rugby nations.
"Australia and Wales first played Test rugby in 1908 and the James Bevan Trophy is an entirely appropriate symbol of the rugby history these two nations share," Mr McLean said.
The James Bevan Trophy was first unveiled in Sydney, Australia on Thursday, May 24th.
BIOGRAPHY: James Alfred Bevan Born Melbourne, Australia, April 15th 1858
Died Leytonstone, England, February 3rd 1938
James Bevan was born in St.Kilda, Victoria, Australia. He was the son of James Bevan and Elizabeth Fly. His father was born in Grosmont, Monmouthshire, and had emigrated to Australia in 1848. He met his wife on the voyage to Australia and the couple had three children, two daughters and a son.
James Bevan Snr purchased a Cobb & Co coach route from Melbourne to Beechworth and prospered as a result. He was able to build one of the first mansions in Melbourne, which he named 'Grosmont'.
Tragedy struck the family on January 11th 1866 when Mr and Mrs Bevan were among 251 passengers who drowned when the Melbourne-bound SS London sank in heavy seas in the Bay of Biscay.
James Bevan Jnr was only seven years old at the time and was sent with his one surviving sister to live with relatives in Wales. He was educated at Hereford Cathedral School and went up to St John's College, Cambridge on October 10th 1877.
A good all-round sportsman, he won the sprints at his college and also turned out for the St John's football XI. He could also turn his hand to cricket and, when living in Bristol having completed his Cambridge education, he claimed WG Grace and his brother EM Grace as victims while playing for Old Sneed Cricket Club.
He completed his BA in 1881 and his MA in 1891 and won rugby Blues in 1877 and 1880. He almost won the latter game with a drop goal which many claimed went over the bar, although the umpires disallowed it and the game was drawn one try each.
Bevan captained the first Welsh XV that took the field against England at Blackheath on February 19th 1881.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.
The WRU officially unveiled the new pitch today in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday. Head Groundsman Lee Evans and colleague Craig Campbell reflect on the 15-week project and look ahead to a pitch perfect future at Millennium Stadium.