A village in Wales will be watching today’s latest Lions game with a close interest, and not just because there are six Welshmen in the starting XV and 11 in the matchday 23.
The Pontyberem locals will have an extra reason to tune in when The British & Irish Lions take on a Combined New South Wales Queensland Country XV in Newcastle thanks to the presence of a prop with Welsh links lining up for the opposition.
Combined Country replacement tight head Dylan Evans is ready for the biggest challenge of his rugby life and his grandfather will be a proud supporter back in the Principality.
Randall Evans won Welsh honours at junior level before moving overseas with work and eventually settling in Singleton, New South Wales.
Now back in Pontyberem for the past two decades, he is all set to see his grandson continue the family’s proud sporting history at the Hunter Stadium.
“I think the whole village is tuning in,” Dylan Evans told the Newcastle Herald.
“My granddad played juniors for Wales, but his allegiance will be tested.
“We have a pretty proud rugby heritage in our family and I know he was rapt when he found out I was playing against The Lions.
“It’s like playing in a Test match. I’m excited to see what the pace of the game and the physicality is like compared to what I have played before.
“I know it’s going to be an enormous challenge…I’m just treating them as another red jumper.
“If I can hold my side (of the scrum) steady and even go forward, I will have done my job. Around the park I want to just hit the rucks and try to make as big an impact as possible.”
Dylan’s father, Jon, made a big impact himself after Randall and his family put down roots in Singleton.
The former lock represented Australia Schoolboys and New South Wales Country, playing against a host of international touring teams, just as his son will do today.
Jon is currently manager of a coal mine in Colombia but has flown back home especially to see his son take to the stage against Britain and Ireland’s elite.
“As soon as I heard Dylan was in the team, I booked the tickets,” said Jon.
“There was no way I was going to miss it. It will be a special moment for the family.
“I spoke to my dad and he was extremely proud. I’m absolutely sure he will shed a tear when Dylan runs out.”