“You have to know you might never play on that pitch again,” explains Movado Hall, with a clarity which belies his age. “To captain on that pitch is a lifetime memory.”
Walking out at the home of Welsh rugby is a privilege few of us will ever experience. Even fewer will be the one leading their side out.
It is an honour which won’t be lost on anyone who has ever stepped out onto the Principality Stadium turf, a culmination of hard work, fortune and sheer will to reach that special moment.
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For 14-year-old tight-head prop Movado, all the words above certainly ring true. On Wednesday, he will live out that “lifetime memory” by leading out Cardiff Schools A team in the Lawrence Miller Bowl final against Islwyn.
It is a remarkable achievement for a young lad who, had things gone a little differently, might have ended up down a path less desirable. Just two years ago, when lockdown hit the country, Movado – as his mother Marissa Spettie explains – “went off the rails a bit and put two fingers up to everyone”.
“He’d be out on the street, hanging out with the older boys and getting into lots of trouble and fights,” she added. “He doesn’t always know how to control his emotions. It was police all the time, getting into fights, not listening to anyone and hanging around with the wrong people.”
Movado takes up the story: “At that point, you know it’s never good. But in the moment, you feel you’re big and tough. You’re this and that. Then you realise you’re small.
“I’d prefer to be out there playing rugby with 3src of my best mates, who I know will always be there for me. You’ll never beat them. Every one of them is my brother and I’ll do anything for them.”
Covid was the touchpaper which ripped Movado away from rugby, something he had fallen in love with since his first session with St Albans as a seven-year-old boy, and towards the streets. But the lack of day-to-day structure in his school life played just as much a part.
“I can say the school system did fail him,” explains Marrissa. “Sometimes, it’s easier to brush it under the carpet and it’s easier for them to just leave him. They do try and he’d rebel in certain ways. But it’s a misunderstanding and sometimes he’d get the blame. Because of his anger and emotions, people put it on his size. We moved home locations so he went between primary schools, then straight to Greenhill.”
Movado had hoped to go to Eastern High in Cardiff, but for whatever reason, Marrissa said he was told he couldn’t go despite being accepted. As such, he ended up in Greenhill – a Cardiff-based school which caters for pupils with social, em
…. to be continued
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