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Last Updated: Friday, 13 August, 2004, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Mefin reveals secret sponsor
Mefin Davies
Neath recruit Mefin Davies can concentrate solely on playing rugby thanks to a sponsorship deal with former Warriors chief Leighton Samuel.

Davies turned down a lucrative offer from Stade Francais that would have signalled the end of his Wales career.

But despite the "generous" Neath deal, the hooker still faced working outside rugby to top up his wages.

"I have stepped in because I am a nice guy and I had a lot of respect for the decision Mefin made," Samuel said.

Davies, 31, was not offered a contract by the four remaining Welsh regions after the demise of the Celtic Warriors left him out of work.

Samuel is still unhappy with the way the Warriors were dismantled, but was pleased to privately sponsor his former hooker when approached by Davies' agent, Peter Underhill.

"Mefin is a lovely guy and had a difficult choice to make as the national coach, Mike Ruddock, had asked him to keep himself available for Wales," Samuel added.

As soon as he knew who it was and the reasons why I was asking, Leighton had no hesitation
Mefin Davies' agent, Peter Underhill

"He chose Wales because his contract offer from Stade Francais would have prevented him continuing his international career.

"Full marks to Neath for giving him the opportunity to continue playing rugby in Wales."

Neath and former club Pontypridd were both keen to sign the 21-cap hooker, with the Gnoll just winning out as Davies' new home.

"It's a great contract with Neath, and I think them for that," Underhill said.

"But on top of that, Leighton has very kindly put an amount of money forward that alleviates any need for Mefin to go out and supplement his income."

"It was a very generous gesture that has been gratefully received - as soon as he knew who it was and the reasons why I was asking, Leighton had no hesitation."




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