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Friday, 17 March 2017

Groggy Predictions 2017

Who should be Grogged? This is a question debated between collectors regularly and a question which frequently crosses the brilliant mind of Richard Hughes. There are so many potential candidates for Groggs but of course with limited resources and capacity at the Groggshop they can’t all make the cut. Below I have set out my own personal predictions as to players who could be in line for a Grogg in the future, enjoy the article and if you’d like to share your own predictions or wishlist drop us a message. 


Last Grogg Released  

Welsh Groggs come thick and fast and the latest one to be released was the new Dan Biggar 9”. Following on from the previous mould of Dan selling out, Richard promptly started work on the new Dan Biggar Grogg,  which was released recently.


So, we already know that the next Welsh Grogg to be released will be a Samson Lee 9”, however in terms of predictions for the next in line after that release, you would have to say Ross Moriarty is a strong contender. Following on from a strong six nations with Wales, Ross must be in the mix to be immortalised in clay, other contenders could be Jake Ball and Gareth Davies who have also gone from strength to strength on the international scene.


Last Grogg Released

The last England Grogg produced was Richard over 10 years ago, for various reasons there hasn’t been an English Grogg made since and let’s face it England have largely failed on the international scene for the last decade, with new management under Eddie Jones and grand slam in the 6 nations last year and on route for a second grand slam could this be the time we see a new England Grogg?


It would have to be a special player for Richard to start work on an English Grogg. 
There is one young star who has burst onto the scene at both club and international level who I feel could be in with a shout and that is Maro Itoje. Despite his young years, Maro  has already won a number of honours at domestic and international level including: European Cup and Aviva Premiership titles with Saracens and the Grand Slam 6 Nations with England in 2016 and the opportunity for a second this weekend. I also happen to know Richard is a big fan of Maro so this could be a real possibility. Another potential candidate could be half centurion Owen Farrell, gone are the days where he was a hot headed and often petulant player, he is now one of the first names on the pitch and has really developed his game under Eddie Jones.


Last Grogg  Released

There haven’t been too many Scottish Groggs in recent years but one man who was certainly deserving of a Grogg is Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw. Following on from a fantastic World Cup in 2015 Greig was recently converted into Grogg form and released for sale to us thankful collectors.


There is one other Scottish player who has gone from strength to strength with Scotland over the last few years and that is Stuart Hogg. With a place in the British and Irish Lions squad likely and the fact we know he is a big fan of Groggs, Scotland’s Mr Dependable could be in the running.

New Zealand

Last Grogg Released

The last Grogg produced by the shop in an All Blacks shirt was the new Dan Carter 9” made to commemorate the back to back World Cups achieved by New Zealand in 2011 and 2015. We also know that Keiran Read and Julian Savea are well under way with releases likely to happen around the time of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.


There are a number of All Blacks who could be in contention for being Grogged, the prediction I will make however is that Brodie Retallick the 2014 World Player of the Year. Brodie is a consistent performer for the All Blacks and would be a popular choice for being Grogged.

South Africa

Last Grogg Released

The last Springbok to be Grogged was Bryan Habana. There haven’t been too many Springboks Grogged in the last decade but the flying South African was an extremely popular choice.


Not too many good things are happening in South African rugby at the moment and as a result there aren’t really any stand out contenders for a new Grogg. However, in terms of collector appeal and popularity one potential choice could be the man mountain Eben Eztebeth. Although quite controversial at times, he is an exceptional Rugby player and extremely popular. The likelihood of getting a new Springbok Grogg any time soon are slim to none I would suggest.


Last Grogg Released

The only Italian ever to be Grogged was captain Sergio Parisse, on the field and on the Grogg shelf, Sergio is an extremely popular figure, evident by the fact he has been Grogged despite playing for a distinctly average international team.


As with South Africa there isn’t a huge amount to celebrate in Italian rugby at the moment. However, there are still some popular players connected with Italy. One player in particular who is a clear fan’s choice would have been Martin Castrogiovanni. A miniature Grogg of Martin was started, but completion of the Grogg never came to fruition, for a number of reasons. From the current Italy squad I can’t see too many contenders worthy of a Grogg, the likeliest outcome is a new Parisse Grogg when the current edition sells out (definitely with less hair – sorry Sergio).


Last Grogg Released

Brian O’Driscoll was the last Irish player to be Grogged, following on from his retirement a Grogg was released to commemorate Brian becoming the most capped player in Rugby Union history with 141 caps. We also found out today that a new Ireland Grogg  is on the way and the player being immortalized in clay is veteran Rory Best which is due to be released around April.


There are a few potential candidates within the current Ireland set up  with some rising stars bursting onto the international scene and some of the more established players stepping up their game in recent times. Irish Groggs have been popular with the shop over the years whether we will get another this year following Rory best remains to be seen, if we did CJ Stander could be a potential option and a popular one or perhaps one of the more established players like Connor Murray, Simon Zebo or Rob Kearney could be considered.


Last  Grogg Released

There haven’t been too many French Groggs released over the last 10 years but collectors rejoiced with the news that juggernaut Mathieu Bastareaud would finally be Grogged. His piece recently went on sale and collectors all over have been extremely happy with the finished article and swooped to have him in their collections.


Since the 2015 world cup one player has really stood out for me and that is their captain and hooker Guilhem Guirado. If any player is deserving of a Grogg for sheer determination and work on the field of play it is Guirado. Another potential contender could be Louis Picamoles who has also put in a number of fantastic performances for Les Bleus over the years.


Last Grogg Released

The last Australian Grogged was David Pocock. Prior to David being produced the last Aussie to receive the honour was the great David Campese, so we know Australian Groggs do not hit the shelves as frequently as some of the other nations.


As with some of the other nations there are a few potential candidates within the current Australia set up. One player in particular that stands out as a front runner for me would be Israel Folau, he is an extremely popular both inside and outside of Australia and has also been one of the first names off of the lips of collectors when discussing potential Aussie Groggs. Australia haven’t had a great time recently on the international scene so the chances of a new Aussie Grogg are pretty low.

Best of the rest:


Last Grogg Released

No named players have previously been Grogged for Georgia


Georgia have really shone on the International stage in recent years, they had a very successful 2015 World Cup with the highlight being a strong performance against the New Zealand All Blacks, despite a loss. Georgia’s rise has even led to calls for them to be included in the 6 nations in the future a move which could lead to a relegation/promotion type scenario. One player in particular who has risen in popularity due to his committed performances is Mamuka Gorgodze, the Toulon player had a fantastic World Cup in 2015 and even managed to win the Man of the Match award against the mighty All Blacks. He is certainly a popular player and if the Groggshop were to expand their international range he could be a good candidate.


Last Grogg Released

No named players have previously been Grogged for Argentina in recent years


Argentina have surprised a few people recently with their rise in International rugby. They now compete in The Rugby Championship alongside Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, so are mixing with the big boys, something which led to them having a great 2015 World Cup where they finished 4th in the tournament. There are a couple of players who could be potential candidates for Groggs and they are Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Santi Cordero. It would be fantastic to see a few Pumas Grogged and I’m sure these guys would be popular with collectors.

I hope you enjoyed this piece, if you’d like to be involved in The Grogg Blog by submitting a Collector Profile or have an idea for an article, drop me a message via one of the channels below!

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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A Day To Remember - By Rob Van Der Steen

Saturday 19th September 2015 is a day which will remain in my memory for the rest of my life. Why? You ask. Well there are a few reasons.

The first is I got to meet my Rugby Hero Joost Van Der Westhuizen. In a very bizarre turn of events my wife, an aspiring photographer was working at the Sussex County Cricket Ground on the Friday, photographing a wedding for one of her clients when she was asked if she could return the next day to take photographs of a Charity event.

Photo Source AFP

As further details became available it was clear it was an event for the J9 Foundation, a charity founded by  Joost Van Der Westhuizen to raise awareness of and to help those suffering with Motor Neuron Disease.  For those of you are not aware Joost himself was diagnosed with the illness back in 2011 and ever since has dedicated much of his life to helping those in similar situations. Find out more about the foundation here The J9 Foundation

So the morning of the 19th of September 2015 came around, my wife set off to take photos with my Rugby hero and I waited patiently for my best friend Jay to arrive so we could head to off to Brighton to watch my first ever Rugby World Cup match at the AMEX Stadium , the match was South Africa vs Japan the second reason my day was so memorable, but we will come back to this later.

As we arrive in Brighton ready to have a few beverages before the match my wife send me a message, it says “I’ve just met Joost” followed by a photo of her with the man himself. My jaw nearly hit the floor, although I knew it was happening the reality of seeing it was something else and then something amazing happened. My wife told me that the event organiser had invited myself and Jay down to meet Joost, the excitement was unbearable. For a split second I was torn as to whether to go or not, fearing I may not make it back in time to watch the big game, but my fears were quickly allayed by the fact Joost himself was going to watch the game so there should be no issues.

So we head off to the cricket ground walk into the event room and there he is my rugby hero sat watching the first Rugby match of the day in preparation for the mighty Boks against Japan later that afternoon. In what was a very humbling experience I nervously approached Joost and explained how it was such a great honour to meet him and how he was my rugby hero. Given the nature of Joost’s illness having a full conversation was not possible but through his brother he was able to thank me for my words before a quick photo opportunity.

Photo Source:

Oh and for those who wondering, Groggs were mentioned to him. Prior to my arrival at the event my wife showed Joost a photo of my own Van Der Westhuizen Grogg and a smile beamed across his face, with his brother confirming Joost still has his Grogg at home and how much he loves it!

Photo Source:

So the afternoon continued, we ate some food spoke to some of the fellow guests, took part in the auction raising money for the J9 Foundation and finally headed off to the AMEX Stadium still in disbelief about what had just happened and thinking nothing could top what we had experienced that morning.

So kick time approaches, 2 times world Champions South Africa line up against Japan, surely this match is only going to end one way? Buzzing with excitement, the crowd is ready to see some Rugby, kitted out in my Springbok hoodie and having just met my rugby hero I know who I am supporting, as is a large percentage of the crowd.

As the match gets underway there is a feeling Japan will not be rolled over as most people would have expected, instead they are going toe to toe with the former world champions… this is incredible!
Of course there were tries from South Africa, but Japan were keeping pace. By the time the halftime whistle blew, Japan were within 2 points of the Springboks, surely in the second half South Africa’s experience will come good and Japan despite fighting bravely in the first half will just not have enough to compete… how wrong could I be?

Photo Source:

The second half kicked off in the same fashion as the first half ended, South Africa looked like they were against the ropes, they managed to score points but Japan looked dynamic, everytime they got the ball they looked dangerous and the crowd roared with excitement.

After an hour of play Japan are still keeping pace with the Spingboks, in fact it’s fair to say they are setting the pace of the game the score is South Africa 22 Japan 22. Further points are added to the board as the minutes tick by the score moves to 29 points a piece and then on the 72nd minute a penalty is awarded to the Springboks, Handre Pollard steps up and comfortably secures the 3 points, South Africa 32 Japan 29.

Japan continue to push but surely they can’t take the win? Surely? 79 Minutes gone Japan are awarded a penalty, the sensible thing to do would be to take the penalty kick and secure the 3 points right? A drawer with the 2 time world champions would be epic, but no Japan are going for this they kick into touch for the lineout, they want to win this match!

As the lineout is taken and won by Japan they drive over the line, the crowd erupts but referee Jerome Garces isn’t convinced, it goes to TMO and the decision is made “No Try”. Relief is clear across the faces of the countless Springbok supporters in the crowd, but the game isn’t over. Japan are awarded a penalty do they go for touch or goal? No they ask for the Scrum, this is incredible!

80 + 1 minutes gone, Japan win the scrum but Garces has deemed the scrum to have turned so it needs to be reset. The scrum commences and Japan retain possession, Leitch peels off the back of the scrum and heads towards the try line, South Africa are defending stoutly and despite the efforts of Japan they look like they will hold strong and then it happens 80 + 5 minutes Leitch charges through the ball is passed left to right and back again and space is created for Karne Hesketh to pierce the defence and storm over the try line. The crowd erupts, including me in my Springbok Jersey, the buzz of the stadium is unreal, this is possibly one of the greatest upsets in world rugby and possibly one of the best games I have ever seen! Final score South Africa 32 Japan 34!

Photo Source:

Japan went on to win another 2 matches in the pool stages but a loss against Scotland in their second game was enough to halt their progression to the knock out stages. Despite this Japan gained cult status in the World Cup, were nominated for one of the teams of the tournament and have really set a very high benchmark for tier 2 nations in the future.

The success of Japan during the world cup has led to one of their stars of the tournament being Grogged.  Ayumu Goromaru was arguably Japan’s stand out player the full back delighted fans with his contribution during the world cup and his performances didn’t go unnoticed in Pontypridd.

Photo Source: Dylan Martinez, Reuters

With pleas from Grogg collectors and Japan fans alike, Richard couldn’t resist the opportunity to add another International to the collection and work began on the Grogg back in October.

Photo Source:

In his iconic kicking pose complete with finger strapping this Grogg is the first Japanese Grogg to be created since Yuji Matsuo back in the 80s and is due to be completed in the New Year. I for one cannot wait to see the finished piece! 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Unique and Commissioned Groggs - By Guest Writer Jonathan Fry

Here are examples of some of the commissioned Groggs that have been produced over the years. Where possible the background story for each Grogg has been provided.  

RhysCycle Award / Environmental Mascot (RCT Council) – Commissioned.


“… unique Grogg of Plwmsan (Mici Plwm's iconic character from a children's S4C programme in the 80s...OK, I know I've lost most of you now!) holds something very personal, mainly since I still can't believe it was made (for an Eisteddfod auction in the mid 80s)”. 


S4C Man of the Match – Commissioned This miscellaneous grogg of a rugby player was commissioned by S4C during the 1990s to present to players as Man of the Match awards by ‘Y Clwb Rygbi’.  

Dudley Newbery (S4C TV Chef) – Commissioned This Grogg of the Welsh language TV chef was commissioned by S4C to give as competition prizes and were not on sale to the general public. It is estimated that only around 20-30 were produced. 


Lewis’s Pie Kings 6” Grogg – Commissioned. Commissioned by Lewis’s Pies and distributed to suppliers. Around 100 were produced but not all were actually distributed making this a rare Grogg. 


‘Never Forget Your Welsh’ (Whitbread) – Commissioned. This Grogg was presented to pubs in Wales serving Welsh bitter. 

Paul Martin (Flog It!) – Commissioned. In 2005, Paul Martin from BBC TV programme ‘Flog It!’ visited and filmed as part of an episode at the Grogg shop. Paul was presented with very own Grogg which also went on general sale. However, only 15 out of the 100 edition actually sold, making this a very rare Grogg! 


Supporters Club – Player of the Month Awards – Commissioned Bruiser the Bear (Cardiff Blues). OSCA (Ospreys) – Commissioned. 


There have been a number of unique Groggs that have not been on sale to the general public i.e. one-off Groggs commissioned by individuals or businesses.  The estimated cost to produce this type of Grogg is between £2,000 and £3,000. 

The shop do not currently undertake any commissioned projects from the public. 

Barrie Partridge  - Unique / Commissioned. 


Another example of a proect commissioned by a cmpany includes: The High Motive Limited Grogg 


 Some customers customised an existing generic Grogg in order to make it unique e.g. shirt and inscription. 


Mark Baldwin AKA “Chuckles” – Commissioned. “Many people said that at 20 I looked like the standard Grogg so I had one made up in my club Porthcawl’s kit including my number 3 on the back and nickname “Chuckles” at the front. In total there are six of these in circulation." 


Taff Ness Curly Haired Monster – Unique. This quirky Grogg produced in 1979 is believed to be unique. 


Gareth Edwards + Gerald Davies – Unique. These Groggs are believed to be one-off figures that were produced in the early 1970s.   


Andrew Hore - November 2006 – Unique 

One of Richard's secret projects was finally unveiled on the eve of the Wales V Australia game, when the Grand Slam Wales team finally said Goodbye in style to fitness coach Andrew Hore by presenting him with his own unique Grogg. As clued up collectors know this has been under wraps for months and we were relieved to hear that Andrew was over the moon to join the Grogg family along with his beloved Welsh team! Thanks for the memories and good luck in the future to Andrew”.  


 Sir Terry Matthews (Celtic Manor)  - Unique. 

 Leigh Halfpenny Awards – Unique. 

In 2014, Leigh Halfpenny was presented with the first ever ‘Golden Grogg Award’ for ‘Outstanding Achievement’.  


 Also, in 2012, Leigh Halfpenny received the 'Man of Iron' Award for the Grand Slam season. Leigh beat off some fierce competition but in the end his amazing head first tackle on David Strettle was the clincher!  


 Ma’a Nonu – Unique ‘Blonde Brow’ (NZ v France 2013)  - Unique. 

“Richard was watching the New Zealand v France game in 2013 and was amused by Nonu’s dyed eyebrow. He decided to paint one of the standard Nonu’s with a blonde brow.”  


In recent years,  unique Groggs have been produced which are similar to the editions presented to the players. These often include extra details such as the shirt sponsors. 

These have been used to raise money for charity  

George North - Unique (Tenovus – winning bid = £1,000).

 Sam Warburton - Unique (Velindre – winning bid = £1,000).

Gethin Jenkins - Unique (Velindre - winning bid = £900).

Gethin Jenkins - Unique (Man of the Match Award). “Although delighted with the result of the England Wales game we were a little confused by the Man of the Match award. Taking nothing away from Mr Worsley's performance we did think however the Man of the Match by a country mile was our own son of Pontypridd Gethin Jenkins. 

In true Groggshop fashion we decided to so something about it and have made a special one off figure with a unique inscription commemorating the game, to present to Gethin. This is a World Of Groggs first but any further anomalies will be addressed in a similar fashion!” (World of Groggs Website). 

Nigel Owens Red Card - Unique (Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust = £475). 

On rare occasions only one club kit Grogg of a player has been produced, making it unique! Richard Ted Jones has a unique Ceri Sweeney (Celtic Warriors kit) and a unique Michael Owen (Celtic Warriors kit). 

The Michael Owen Grogg was produced by mistake as he initially signed for the Warriors but never actually played for the team and signed for the Dragons instead! 

The World Of Groggs has produced a highly collectable and extremley low numbered Limited Edition range of the Ospreys Strip. Complete with the complicated red celtic logo each hand painted piece was only be available in numbers corresponding to the players own number. Within this set Duncan Jones was only limited to 1 piece therefore making him unique.

John Dawes - Unique (Welsh Charitables) At the time the Worl of Groggs said “An unusual and unique Grogg has been created to be auctioned on behalf of the Welsh Charitables Organisation on Friday 5th November  at Llandovery RFC. The dinner is being held to honour London Welsh, Wales and Lions legend John Dawes in the presence of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. This figure is the only one of it's kind to be made in the Welsh Charitables own strip”. 

JPR Bridgend Bust  - Unique (JPR’s Spinal Research Charity – winning bid = £830). 

Pontypool Front Row  - Unique (Welsh Rugby Former International Players Association Dinner – November 2006). 

 Pontypridd / British Lions Grogg – Unique. A unique grogg was auctioned at a dinner at Sardis Road to celebrate the nine ‘Pontypridd Lions’ (Russell Robins, Tommy David, Mike Griffiths, Neil Jenkins, Dafydd James, Martyn Williams, Gethin Jenkins, Michael Owen and Brent Cockbain). 

Ritaz and Rowland Phillips with a unique tribute Grogg – Unique. 

 Some additional examples of unique Groggs produced over the years.

Recently the World of Groggs celebrated its 50th Anniversary. At the celebration dinner at the Vale Resort a number of unique Groggs were auctioned off raising an incredible £12,000. Below are the photo sheets used to entice the bidders.

Please get in touch if you have suggestions of Groggs to add to this article!

The Grogg Blog would like to thnak the following for use of their photos in this piece:
The World of Groggs
Jonathan Fry
Richard Ted Jones
Tim O'Donnell
Barrie-John Partridge
Becci Jones
Peter Davies
Darren Rees
Lee Foulkes
Gwion Dafydd
Mark Baldwin