Wales centre Mason Grady has tough act to follow at Rugby World Cup
Wales centre Mason Grady has a tough family act to follow at his first Rugby World Cup.
To gain selection for rugby union’s global spectacular just five months after your 21st birthday is no mean feat.
But Grady’s brother Cory Allen holds World Cup bragging rights, given that he scored a hat-trick of tries on his tournament debut.
It was eight years ago in Cardiff that former centre Allen made a mark, scoring three tries in 21 minutes during Wales’ 54-9 World Cup victory over Uruguay.
Allen, who won six Test caps, played no further part in the tournament, though, after suffering a serious hamstring injury during the second half.
His team-mates that day included current Wales World Cup squad members Liam Williams, Gareth Davies, Tomas Francis and Dan Lydiate.
“He is averaging three tries a game at the World Cup, which is the best of any player at the tournament,” Grady said.
“I have got a lot of catching up to do there.
“Luckily, it was a home World Cup so I went to every game. He only played in the Uruguay game then did his hamstring, so I only watched him for about 55 minutes.
“It was crazy. He didn’t play in any of the warm-up games so we thought ‘unlucky, maybe the next World Cup’, but he then got selected and scored a hat-trick. It was nuts.
“Now he has retired he gives me a lot more advice after games. He will just ring me and tell me what I can do better and what I’ve done well.”
Grady’s family pedigree is an impressive one – and not just on the rugby pitch.
His mother Julie had a 20-year basketball career, representing Wales and the Rhondda Rebels club side, while brother Ashton is also a basketball international and Grady himself featured for Wales Under-16s in the sport.
But rugby soon took centre-stage, with Grady making his Cardiff debut at the age of 17, winning Wales Under-20 honours and then making his senior Wales bow against England during last season’s Guinness Six Nations.
World Cup selection followed as one of four centres alongside George North, Nick Tompkins and Johnny Williams, and at 6ft 5in and more than 17 stones, he offers a considerable physical presence in midfield or on the wing.
Grady added: “It is very surreal. To think I was playing under-20s rugby last year – it’s pretty nuts.
“I take it all in my stride and just take it game by game. We just look forward to what is ahead.
“During the Six Nations I was a bit nervous coming in (to the squad) and trying not to make any mistakes. I am a lot more confident now.”
The Wales players were due to leave Cardiff for France on Sunday and their pool-stage training base of Versailles.
Wales’ opening Pool C fixture is against Fiji in Bordeaux next Sunday. It will be a fifth-successive World Cup for the countries to meet.
Wales then face Portugal in Nice before heading to Lyon for an appointment with Australia. Their final group game sees them meeting Georgia in Nantes on October 7.
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