- Jamie Salmon was capped by both New Zealand and England
- Returns to Twickenham this Saturday as Farnham manager
- Salmon’s two sons Mike and Toby to feature for Farnham in RFU Cup final
It has been 25 years since Jamie Salmon played at Twickenham and this weekend’s return, this time as a coach, is particularly special.
The former centre, who uniquely was capped seven times for New Zealand and then made 12 appearances for England, will return to the home of English rugby to try and guide Farnham RFC to the Senior Vase trophy in the club's first national final.
To add to the occasion, Salmon’s eldest son Mike will captain the side while his youngest son Toby will feature at fly-half.
“It is quite surreal,” admits Salmon, “To think that 25 years later I’m going back to Twickenham to watch my sons play is great.”
Salmon’s own rugby journey is particularly unique. Rejected by Kent U19s after leaving school, he decided to travel to New Zealand and within a year had been selected by Wellington’s provincial side.
Wishing @FarnhamRugby an outstanding and successful trip to Twickenham for the final. All you've got is always good enough!! Enjoy the day.— Jonny Wilkinson (@JonnyWilkinson) May 5, 2017
“I phoned my old man after that first year and said ‘I’m not coming back’.”
It was a good decision. Just a few years later, in 1980, Salmon made his debut for New Zealand against Fiji after qualifying on residency and went on to tour France in 1981.
“I look back on that time with incredible fondness,” says Salmon, who also played against the British and Irish Lions for Wellington in 1983.
After deciding to return home, he began playing for Harlequins and before long caught the attention of England who he went on to play for 12 times.
“Looking back now I realise how unique it is to have played for both sides and I’m told it won’t happen again,” says Salmon.
Once in a lifetime
Perhaps equally unlikely to occur again is the circumstances of this Saturday’s final, with the involvement of both his sons making the match particularly special.
“My middle son isn’t too happy! But really it is just about the team because they are the ones who have crossed the white line and produced the goods this season.
“It will be an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives and it will bond them.”
Farnham have lost only one game in the league this season, gaining promotion from London 3 South West and Salmon says they will focus on the basics in the final.
“As long as we play to somewhere near our potential I’ll be very happy but having said that we are obviously desperately keen to win it.
“I try and pass on individual bits of advice to help the collective effort and while it will be special for me to come back, the day is all about the club and what they have achieved.”
The RFU Cup finals are held at Twickenham this Saturday, 6 May and mark the culmination of the grassroots club season. The Junior Vase, Senior Vase and Intermediate Cup will all be streamed live on EnglandRugby.com.