On a wintry Saturday at Old Deer Park more than half a century ago, Dickie Jeeps made a point of introducing himself to a Welsh schoolboy.
England’s record-breaking scrum-half got there early to watch the morning curtain-raiser — a final Welsh Under 18 trial — before appearing for his club, Northampton, against London Welsh in the afternoon. Viewed through the prism of history, it can be seen as the day the sorcerer met his apprentice.
Jeeps singled the teenager out in the clubhouse before heading back to the family fruit farm in Cambridgeshire.
Dickie Jeeps delivers a pass from an England scrum against the touring South Africans in 1961
‘You played very well,’ Jeeps told him, scrum-half to scrum-half. ‘Keep up the good work.’
‘Thank you, Mr Jeeps. Can I have your autograph?’
‘Certainly. What’s your name?’