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Carwyn James Revelatory Biography Republished

Rugby genius Carwyn James’ comprehensive and revelatory biography has been republished to coincide with a stage production of Carwyn James’ life. Alun Gibbard, author of Carwyn James’ biography Into the Wind, worked as a consultant on the production. The Torch Theatre will be touring their show Carwyn in venues across Wales. 

Into the Wind: the life of Carwyn James by Alun Gibbard, is a thoroughly researched, comprehensive look at the life of a man who influenced rugby throughout the world. When published, it contained new material relating to various aspects of his life, such as his time working for the Secret Services and his life in Italy. Into the Wind was shortlisted for the 2018 Sports Book Awards’ Rugby Book of the Year, and received special commendation on the night.

Biographer Alun Gibbard said:
‘Carwyn was, say many, the greatest coach rugby has known. Not only did he mastermind the Lions’ first ever series victory on New Zealand soil, he then went on to coach his club side, Llanelli, to beat the All Blacks at Stradey Park, Llanelli.’

One of the first first-class coaches in Wales, the book sheds light on James’ work in rugby in three different decades in Wales and beyond: the 1950s, 1960s and the decade the whole rugby world got to know of his genius, the 1970s.

In this biography, Alun Gibbard also argues that rugby wasn’t the only love of his life: 
‘He was, at heart, a man of literature with a poet’s spirit, and a linguist. As well as Welsh and English, he also learned Russian in the Navy. He fell in love with Russian literature and when he coached Rovigo in Italy, he turned to the written word in that country’s language. He was also a prolific broadcaster from the late Fifties onwards, and he stood as a Welsh nationalist candidate in a General Election.’

Into the Wind deals with an earlier period when Carwyn James was passed over as Wales coach, showing evidence that he wasn’t rejected but actually withdrew his own application. It argues that over his career, he was let down by the WRU as well as by the BBC. This leading sporting figure and academic was employed to present sports bulletins at every hour of the day by the BBC, in a way that abused his obvious talents. 

On a more personal note, Into the Wind looks in depth at the popular, sometimes sensationalist claim that Carwyn James was gay. Alun Gibbard rejects any pressure to conclusively prove that he actually was gay, saying that it is not the biographer’s duty to come to a conclusion that the person himself had not come to. However, the book honestly analyses Carwyn James’ very difficult battle with his own sexuality which caused him such painful turmoil towards the end of his life. Tragically, he was found dead in a hotel bath in Amsterdam before he could reach a resolution of these tensions. 

‘He was a genius but also a tortured soul’ added Alun Gibbard, ‘Into the Wind brings Carwyn James to life once again, in all his genius and complexities.’