The cradle of rugby’s oldest bespoke manufacturing business can be found across the river from the Millennium Stadium on the far side of the Taff Embankment in Wedmore Road.
Frank Whitcombe lived there through the Great Depression until he took the Rugby League shilling and hitched his wagon to Broughton Rangers in Manchester on September 18, 1935. The family’s Front Row dynasty will therefore be 85 years old next month and far from finished.
A prize-fighter’s son from Cardiff ’s proud inner-city Grangetown district, the founding father would be tickled pink to see his great-grandson is maintaining the tradition at Leicester Tigers, where England props have been rolling off the conveyer belt since before the dawn of professionalism.
James Whitcombe is hoping that maybe one day he will emulate those who have propped in the national cause at all but one of the last six World Cups – Graham Rowntree, Darren Garforth, Julian White, Dan Cole. If the teenaged Whitcombe fails, it won’t be for any lack of stature, not at almost 19 stone and 6ft 3in.
He has a pedigree in the propping department which money can’t buy, a generational success story dating back to when Franklin Roosevelt was in the White House and the Prince of Wales was courting abdication by dating an American divorcee.
You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE
August 30, 2020