When Josh Adams last played in South Africa with Wales U18 he found himself coming up against a giant wing from the South West Districts – Duhan van der Merwe.
Eight years on the now Scottish wing will be a team mate of Adams’ on the British & Irish Lions tour this summer to tackle the world champion Springboks. If his selection was one of the small surprises in Warren Gatland’s 37-strong squad, Adams’ appearance as the first name announced wasn’t.
Not that his heavily predicted selection was a certainty. His breach of Wales team COVID regulations ahead of the Six Nations almost derailed his chances and then he had to deal with an even bigger issue.
Wales wing Josh Adams was the first name announced in Warren Gatland’s 37-man Lions team
His breach of Wales team COVID regulations ahead of Six Nations almost derailed his chances
All the best rugby players in the UK and Ireland will have put a red circle around 24 July, the date of the first of three Tests against the Springboks, but there is an even more important in the life of Adams and his fiancée, Georgia, to come nine days earlier.
On 15 July the happy couple are expecting their first child and the conversations they had ahead of selection were as important as the three tries he scored in successive matches for Wales as they won the Six Nations title to book his ticket.
‘Georgia and I sat down and talked about what might happen if I was selected. I’m so happy that she gave me her full blessing,’ said Adams.
‘It has been difficult, but she has been fantastic. She understands how hard I’ve worked in the weeks and years gone by and is fully behind this decision, even though it means she is going to be giving birth without me.
Nine days before the first Test match, Adams and his fiancee are due to welcome a child
‘It wouldn’t have worked unless we had sat down and had those conversations. She’s been unbelievable really and we have plans in place for the birth.’
The baby shower at which the sex of their daughter was revealed unwittingly caused Adams to fall foul of the strict COVID protocols the Welsh team had put in place to protect their players and the Cardiff Blues wing found himself banned for two matches.
All of a sudden he had to watch on as another of the Lions wings this summer, Louis Rees-Zammit, stepped up and grabbed his chance.
The baby shower at which the sex of their daughter was revealed caused Adams to fall foul
‘Honesty is the best policy in these situations and I held my hand up straight away. You have to be honest with the coaches because they trust you and I think that trust was repaid because I was selected when I was eligible to play again,’ admitted Adams.
‘It was fairly simple, I made an error of judgement. I think it was dealt with perfectly and it was brilliant that I had full support from all the coaches and players.
‘As soon as I came back in it was business as usual and, thankfully, I was back in the team against England.’
Not only that, he bagged a try in the wins over England, Italy and France to underline his status as one of the northern hemisphere’s great finishers. The top try scorer at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, he now boasts 17 tries in 32 Tests for Wales.