Jerry Shea - CentreWales RL
|Date Of Birth||12/08/1892|
|Place Of Birth||Newport|
|Clubs||Wigan Warriors, Newport, Pill Harriers|
|Honours||Wales RL, Wales|
Jerry Shea was not only a Wales rugby dual code international, but also a professional boxer. Originally from Newport, he initially played rugby union with Pill Harriers. It was when he was with Pill that he gained his first cap for Wales, against the post-war touring New Zealand Army. In 1919, like many Pill players, he switched to Newport RFC, the Harriers first-class rivals. The next year he was selected to play for Wales against England at St. Helens in the Five Nations Championship and it was in this match that he would make history by scoring a try, conversion, drop goal, and penalty goal, the first player to do so at an international level. The feat of achieving all four rugby union scores was held by Jerry Shea alone until another future Wales dual code international Lewis Jones emulated him 30 years later when on tour with the British Lions against Australia. He played two more matches for Wales RU before turning professional with Wigan in December 1921 for a then record fee of £700. His first game for Wigan was on Christmas Eve scoring a try on his début. He remained with the club for three seasons, two of them as captain, though he never moved to Wigan and always travelled to matches from Wales. He became a dual code international a year later. Whilst with Wigan, he helped them to the 1921-22 League Championship, playing in the Final, and also won a Lancashire Cup winners medal the following season. After leaving Wigan in 1924, Jerry was instrumental in setting up Pontypridd RLFC, a lone professional league team in Wales that competed in the Northern League, though the club failed to find support and folded after one season.
As well as a rugby player Jerry was also a professional boxer, fighting in the welter and middleweight categories. His first professional bout was on 18 January 1916 against Twiggy Davies at The Park Hall, in Newport. He drew the match but just two weeks later he beat Davies by points decision at the same venue. Although Jerry didn't ever fight for a major belt, he faced and beat several notable fighters during his nine-year professional career. His final recorded fight was on 17 November 1924 when he faced ex-welterweight champ, Johnny Basham. Jerry won the contest on points.
He died suddenly in Newport on 30 June 1947, aged 54.