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Glenn Webbe 'Welsh rugby's first black icon' pens autobiography

In a sport full of characters, Glenn Webbe was one of rugby union’s most colourful and his character shines through in a new autobiography, entitled Glenn Webbe: The Gloves Are Off  which has just been released.

His autobiography follows his life story from his childhood growing up in Ely, Cardiff with his Windrush Generation parents, and seven sisters, through to his rugby education and legendary career with Bridgend and Wales. He experienced racial prejudice during his rugby career, which can still rear its ugly head in the sport even today, 30 years later. His attitude towards the ignorance and racism was to face it with a humour and dignity which rendered the bigots powerless. Glenn’s autobiography also covers life outside and after rugby – the tragic death of his best friend Mike Budd, his battle with cancer, as well as life with wife Sally and daughters Lily and Marcy. The book illustrates his humour and positive outlook and is full of behind-the-scene stories of his tricks and practical jokes.

Glenn was the first black player to achieve cult status in Welsh rugby union, not least amongst the Brewery Fields faithful during a 14-season career with Bridgend in which he rewrote the record books. He was the first black player to play for Wales, the first black British player to appear in a Rugby World Cup and the first Welshman to score a hat-trick o tries in the tournament.

“The whole process has been quite reflective and I’ve enjoyed going back and recalling the highs and lows of my rugby career. Playing rugby for my country was one of the biggest achievements of my life, but I would have liked to have earned more that my 10 caps but, for whatever reason, it didn’t happen,. I’m just a boy from Ely who happened to be good at playing rugby, telling a joke and delivering a song or two,” says Glenn.


Glenn Webbe played for Bridgend for 14 seasons and his near 300 tries in 404 matches for them gave him a strike rate second to none. Geraint Thomas, co-author of the book said,

“I actually played alongside Glenn for Bridgend in the early 90s, so I knew as well as being a brilliant player he had a huge personality as well! I will never forget waiting to run out for my Bridgend debut, feeling very nervous, when Glenn turned to me in the tunnel and said ‘So, are you any good?’ – typical Glenn!”