Just prior to this season beginning three stalwarts of Taunton RFC – Jack Matthews, Jerry Winter and Richard Walford – sat down to pick their best post-War Taunton XV. Each home game this season we’ll be putting forward their selections of the outstanding players position by position from the last 70 years. Do you agree with them?
Week Three:Second Row
One of the key selectorial issues with this team was always going to be whether the three panellists would consider themselves. As we reached the first of their positions, I braced myself for having to tell them not to be modest. I should have had no such qualms. Jack – who had given this task forethought to the extent that he had already selected his XV as a starting point for the discussion – was in no doubt about who would wear the number 4 shirt. “Me,” he said.
He qualified that by admitting that there were better line-out forwards than him but that he was a good leader and every side needs someone to stamp their authority on the game. “I felt I was something of an enforcer,” said Jack. “A few other people felt that too,” smiled Jerry. Richard pointed out that Jack Matthews had played over 400 games for Taunton RFC and Jerry added that his off-field contribution was not to be overlooked. Jack has served two terms as President of the rugby club and there is, of course, the Jack Matthews Presidential Suite named in his honour. Pushed to consider other names the selection committee was happy to give honourable mentions to Terry Hackling and Keith Cooling but the pick was clear and unanimous: Jack Matthews is a giant both in stature and in Taunton RFC folklore.