Ten-year-old joins Millennium Stadium party
24th October 2009, 3:33 pm By Principality Stadium
Wales and Cardiff Blues prop John Yapp was at the Millennium Stadium today to present a special gift to 10-year-old Dylan Thomas Blackey, who shares his birthday with the iconic sporting venue and has been awarded free tickets to next month’s Invesco Perpetual Series international against Samoa as a result.
Dylan, who lives in Llangennech, opened his eyes for the first time at 9.02pm on October 1st 1999, six hours after the Millennium Stadium officially revealed itself to the world with a Welsh victory over Argentina in front of its first 74,500 capacity crowd as part of the opening of the Rugby World Cup tournament.
To celebrate ten years of sport since Wales kicked off rugby’s flagship tournament, Welsh rugby bosses are offering a free, four-person, family ticket to Wales Invesco Perpetual Series clash with Samoa to any ten year old born on this landmark occasion or on the date of the first match at Millennium Stadium – Wales’ 29-19 victory over South Africa in front of a restricted crowd on 26th June that same year.
Blues Prop Yapp won his first cap for Wales at the Millennium Stadium when he came off the bench for the victory over England in the 2005 RBS 6 Nations and has two Grand Slam winner’s medals to his name after also featuring in the 2008 clean sweep.
Yapp, currently on the injury list and so out of the selection debate for this Autumn’s series of matches which also features clashes with New Zealand, Argentina and Australia, returned to the hallowed ground today to present the Millennium Stadium birthday boy with his free family ticket and also surprised Dylan with the gift of a WRU replica home jersey.
"I have some great memories of my own from the 10 year history of the Millennium Stadium and have been privileged to be a part of two squads which have won Grand Slams and on both those occasions the final games where here, against Ireland in 2005 and against France in 2008," said Yapp, who last figured for Wales against Scotland and Italy in the 2009 Six Nations tournament and against Canada and USA on Wales’ North American tour this summer.
"But I’m sure the memories Dylan’s parents have of him coming into the world top those! It’s strange to think that there is a whole generation of rugby fans out there now that only know the Millennium Stadium and have their views of international rugby formed solely by what has happened here.
"It’s thoughts like those which make sportsmen realise they are role models to these kids and it has been great to meet Dylan today who now has a special place in Millennium Stadium history himself as the first 10-year-old to come forward join in the anniversary celebrations."
David Blackey, Dylan’s father, joined his son at the presentation after the family had enjoyed a free Millennium Stadium tour to sample a unique behind-the-scenes insight visiting the player’s dressing rooms, the players’ tunnel and the royal box.
"I speak on behalf of all the family when I say that we’ve had a fantastic experience here at the Millennium Stadium this morning and, after seeing how big this place is, hearing what goes on behind the scenes and listening to John Yapp share his memories of putting on that illustrious Wales shirt, we are hugely excited about our family outing when Wales take on Samoa here on Friday, 13 November." he said.
The WRU have put no limit on the amount of 10-year-olds who can claim the free family ticket for Wales v Samoa on Friday 13 November (7.30pm) the only criteria is that the relevant child must have been born October 1 1999, the day of the opening game of Rugby World Cup 99 between Wales and Argentina, or on June 26 1999, when Wales recorded a 29-19 victory over South Africa in front of a part capacity crowd at the first Millennium Stadium as construction workers raced to be ready for the RWC.
More children than ever before in Wales are expected to get behind their national sporting heroes for the game against the exciting Samoans following the launch of a £10 ticket for children and a unique group-booking offer to schools across the country from the WRU.
For the family-favourable Friday night fixture, primary and secondary schools can take advantage of one free ticket with a group booking of eight.
As an additional bonus offer, all group bookings will be entered into a draw to win one pair of tickets to the first taste of world-class rugby, when Warren Gatland’s men kick off this Autumn Series with the sell-out clash against New Zealand.
Tickets for Invesco Perpetual Series clashes with Samoa and Argentina are still available online at www.wru.co.uk or from the ticket hotline: 08442 777888.
To redeem family tickets for all eligible 10-year-olds, families should send a photocopy of the relevant child’s birth certificate by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Gareth Davies, WRU Ticketing, Millennium Stadium, Westgate Street, Cardiff CF10 1NS or fax: 02920 822474.