Picking a venue to pitch is often a difficult decision for many, but for two Welsh rugby fans there’s probably no better place than the birthplace of Welsh rugby itself: the Principality Stadium.
What about after an exciting game with a team you’ve both been involved with since day one? Even better.
Such was the case with Cobra RFC scrum-half Ffion Williams and manager Rhodri Davies, who shared a momentous personal milestone on the pitch after 10 years together – six of them as a player and manager. The #9 seized the perfect opportunity and popped the question to her boyfriend on Sunday May 1 – with her runner-up medal!
The Meifod-based club near Welshpool advanced to the North Wales Cup final en route to the Principality where they put up a valiant performance against champions Caernarfon, who prevailed 48-10. But the party was far from over when the final whistle blew.
Ffion, 32, said: “It’s an ongoing joke between me and Rhod that I always said I didn’t want to get married and he didn’t propose! We’ve been dating for 10 years, we’ve all both a love for rugby and I just thought there was no better place to do it – the opportunity is there to have that moment.
“I mentioned to a friend a few weeks ago that I was thinking of doing this, I was starting to chicken out in the weeks leading up to it, but it was a really fabulous game, the day was fantastic and I felt that the time had come, let’s go for it.”
Ffion got down on her knees – much to the surprise of the rest of the team, who rarely see public displays of affection between the two – and got a ‘yes’ from Rhodri before her teammates lashed out to the couple amid crazy party scenes.
“I didn’t expect it at all,” admitted Rhodri, 34. “I’m obviously over the moon, but it was a complete surprise. If you’re going to do it anywhere, it was in her mind. We were amazed to be able to play in the stadium, and she saw her opportunity. “
“None of us actually know what I said!” Fion burst out laughing. “I didn’t really have a ring on me, but when they gave me the medal in the box, it’s almost a replica of a ring in a box!”
Rhodri, a science teacher, joked that the only dry eyes in the house were the happy couple themselves, saying: “Even though we lost, we had the pleasure of playing in the stadium. Everything the world was in tears and in shock.”
Ffion, account manager in the meat industry, explained: “There were all of them. There were people in the crowd going up. It was a pretty special moment for everyone involved. It was a team commitment They are our second family.
“We know the Caernarfon girls pretty well through RGC, Rhod has coached and I’ve played there. It was nice to see that, it’s almost a reflection on the game.”
Ffion and Rhodri have known each other since they were children, both coming from farming backgrounds in the Welsh countryside, while their mothers both played netball. They dated Ysgol Llanfyllin in Powys before getting along a few years later. “We were at a Young Farmers night out in Newtown and she had a flask of port and got drunk on it and that was it!” Rhodri explains.
In terms of their rugby journey together, the Cobra RFC women’s rugby team was established around six years ago, making remarkable progress flying high in North Wales competitions before taking part in the Welsh Premiership Women’s League this year.
“We started from scratch and I coached from the start,” Rhodri said. “This year we had the chance to play in the Premiership, which was brilliant. We managed to get to the final, which was an amazing experience. Ffion was a footballer until about six years ago. We created the team and they took to it like a duck to water.”
“We’ve gone from almost nothing and friendlies to the Welsh Premiership and that’s a reflection of what Rhod has built as a team,” added Ffion.
The final at the Principality Stadium capped off a period of success well worth celebrating, with the team and staff heading to a fancy dress party in Cardiff after the game, dressing up as something that starts with the first letter of their names: Ffion went like a fox, and Rhodri like a rabbit.
“We’ve all lost our voices and everyone is trying to call us!” Ffion said on Monday. “We’re on a bit of a cloud, it’s been a bit frantic, the whole day has been special.”
Cobra RFC said: “Well… what a memorable day. Huge respect for the great team of players and coaches involved. Super proud is an understatement. These girls are huge and continue to be an inspiration to us all. Club very proud. What an end to the day.. We would also like to extend our congratulations to Ffion and Rhods who added a little surprise for everyone Llongyfarchiadau Ffi ac Rhods”.
“Congratulations to COBRA RFC Head Coach Rhodri Davies and Ffion Williams,” the stadium said. “Ffion kicked off the question match and we couldn’t think of a better place to say yes!”
As for the action on the pitch, Cobra’s Gemma Robinson featured on the opening try of the game before Caernarfon’s Rhodd Alaw Parry netted a well-timed interception which saw her run the full length pitch to score under the posts. Kate Davies scored two more before being carded off while Mali Jones and Teleri Davies also crossed. Combined with the boot of Efa Williams, Caernarfon led 33-5 at the break. In the second half, Siwan Holloway and Sophie Richards claimed tries for Caernarfon and Cobra’s efforts in the opposing half were rewarded when Adelaide Edwards crashed in. But a resilient defense kept Cobra from coming out despite a fierce attack in the 22 in the final minutes of the game.