Possibly one of the most talented Welsh player before WW1, fly-half Percy Bush (23/6/1879 - 19/5/1955) played most of his career for Cardiff (171 matches, 66 tries between from 1899 to 1913) , enjoyed 8 caps for Wales (1905 - 1910) and 4 caps with 1904 British Lions (Australia & New Zealand)...
With Wales (left picture), Percy Bush was a member of the team who defeated Gallaher's All Blacks 3-0 in December 1905... A golden era for Welsh rugby...(I will not discuss the controversy about the final score vs NZ... this is a tribute to a Welsh player...!)
More surprisingly, I recently found out that Percy Bush did a break in the career with Cardiff to join French rugby championship between 1909 and 1911, and played with newly created Stade Nantais Universite Club (right picture)
To make a long story short... Nantes is one of the main cities of Britany (not exactly the heartland of rugby in France...) where veteran Pascal Laporte - former captain of Bordeaux, 5 times champion between 1899 and 1907 - managed to gather two local clubs to form SNUC (Stade Nantais Universite Club) and build a competitive team (SNUC stadium is named afer him...)
In 1909, Percy Bush moved to Nantes as British Consul (!) and join SNUC. Is it just a coincidence ? or was he invited by Laporte ? This is my theory, as Laporte was a businessman (import/export of coal) who knew England and Wales very well, and who even used to stay and play rugby in Liverpool for a while. I am investigating...
This picture, from La Vie Au Grand Air - Nov.1910 - shows the SNUC guys before a 9 -4 victory over Racing Club de France in Colombes. The two other gentlemen are Hélier Thyl, a 90kg winger from Bordeaux (5 times champion between 1904 and 1909), and Mog (?) Griffiths, who is believed to be a friend of Percy Bush - formerly playing with Cardiff.
I am not very sure about the identity of this Mr Griffiths, but I am sure that he scored the winning try that day (full size pic : caption reads "l'Anglais Griffiths marque un essai pour Nantes") !
Special thanks to John and Roger to helped me to gather some information about Percy Bush.
Edited June 2 : Phil kindly sent me a long and detailed bio of Percy Bush (available here @ Google docs or to be d/l here in pdf )
This note is dedicated to John to celebrate the 3rd birthday of his website www.ovalballs.com ! Internet years are like dog years... you have to multiply by 7 and realize that John was a true pioneer ...