Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Wales Online
Wales Online
John Jones

The Welsh sporting legends and stars whose kids have followed in their footsteps

Football fans of a certain age have been left feeling rather old after it was recently announced that the son of Ryan Giggs had signed for a Premier League side.

16-year-old Zach Giggs joined Sheffield United last month after being released by his dad's former side Manchester United and spending a few weeks on trial with the newly-promoted club. The teenager is said to have impressed during his short time at the Blades so far and having represented Wales at youth level, there is every chance he could go on to emulate his father by captaining his country.

However, Giggs senior is certainly not the first Welsh sporting star to see their child follow in their footsteps and make it big in the world of sport. In fact, some of his own former Wales team-mates have watched their kids rise through the ranks of academy football and make it onto the books of the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool

It doesn't stop there either, with stars of rugby and boxing also being followed by their sons and daughters who have carried their names over into the next generation of Welsh sporting talent.

Here are just some of the Welsh stars whose children have followed in their footsteps:

READ MORE: The next generation of Wales football stars about to create history

Ieuan Evans

Ieuan and Cai Evans after an U20s Six Nations game in 2019 (Ben Evans/Huw Evans Agency)

Regarded as one of the best wingers in Welsh rugby history, Evans scored 33 tries for Wales, making him the country's fourth highest try scorer, and toured with the British and Irish Lions three times, travelling to Australia in 1989, New Zealand in 1993 and South Africa in 1997.

In retirement, the former Llanelli star has worked in ambassadorial and media roles and received an MBE for services to rugby in 1996. He was named as the new chair of the Welsh Rugby Union at the end of last year, enduring a tumultous few months in the post before clubs voted to replace him with an independent chair at a historic EGM, a move which he "loudly applaud[ed] them" for.

However, on the pitch, Evans' son Cai has been perfoming exceptionally for the Ospreys in recent months. The fly-half has been playing for Swansea RFC in the Welsh Premiership, with his starts for the region rationed out, while injuries have meant he did not start one match at regional level last season.

But his eye-catching performances, marked by excellent composure under the ball and superb kicking out of hand, have caught the eye of Wales boss Warren Gatland, who named him in his 54 player training squad for the Rugby World Cup earlier this month.

Robbie Savage

Robbie (left) had to fight back tears when his son Charlie scored his first professional goal this year (Getty Images / REX/ Shutterstock)

One of Giggs' former teammates, Robbie Savage, has also seen his son follow him into the world of professional football and even take up the same position. Charlie Savage, 20, signed his first professional contract with Manchester United in 2021 having risen up through the youth ranks, and made his first-team debut in the Champions League later that year, making a last-minute cameo in a game that his dad was commentating on.

Charlie, who has represented Wales at under-17, under-18, under-19 and under-21 levels, joined Forest Green Rovers on loan at the start of 2023 and scored his first senior goal for the League One side in March, leaving his dad fighting back tears on live TV while on punditry duty for BT Sport.

Like his dad, whose career saw him earn 39 caps for Wales and represent the likes of Leicester City, Blackburn Rovers and Derby County in the Premier League, Charlie is a central midfielder and comfortable both defending and going forward. However, he has played down similarities to his father's playing style, instead stating that he is more of a technical, ball playing midfielder, rather than a tenacious player like Robbie.

Gareth Llewellyn

Max (right) has inherited both his dad's height and talent (Huw Evans Picture Agency)

Former Wales captain Llewellyn won 92 caps for his country, with all but one of them coming at lock. So when the former Neath, Harlequins and Ospreys star's son Max first took up rugby, there was only one position he was going to be stuck in.

But at 6ft 4in, just a couple of inches shorter than his dad, the youngster soon moved into the backs, lining up at centre. After making his debut for Cardiff, where he rose through the academy ranks, in 2017, he became an integral part of the Wales U20 side and is still firmly regarded as one of Welsh rugby's hottest young prospects.

However, at the end of 2022, the star turned his back on the regional game by signing for English Premiership club Gloucester, admitting that the offer he received was too good to turn to down given the uncertainty surrounding Welsh rugby for most of the season. Despite moving to England, he will remain eligible for Wales selection due to the fact he is an uncapped player who hasn't been in a national squad before.

John Toshack

Cameron (right) followed his dad into management after a brief playing career (Cameron Toshack)

The legendary manager is thankfully now on the mend after nearly losing his life to Covid and pneumonia last year. Toshack, who scored 13 times in 40 games for Wales before twice becoming national team boss and taking charge of sides including Swansea City, Real Sociedad and Real Madrid, was kept on a ventilator in a Spanish hospital for two weeks as he struggled with breathing difficulties.

His son, Cameron, has since opened up about the "traumatic" time, which came as he had been embarking on an entirely different battle of his own, having followed his dad into management and being appointed as assistant manager to Jesse Marsch at Leeds United. A former forward for Swansea, Cardiff City, Bristol City and Weymouth, Toshack junior made only a dozen or so appearances in his career before coaching the Macedonian national team alongside his father in 2011.

He then joined Swansea City as a youth coach, winning the 2017 Premier League Cup, before making his first-team managerial debut with Cyprus club Pafos FC in 2019. While his time at Elland Road came to an abrupt end earlier this year following Marsch's sacking, the pair could work together again in the future, although Cameron has ambitions of being a head coach.

"Jesse and I have spoken about the potential of working together again, I would welcome that if it came along," he told WalesOnline. "But, that said, Jesse knows my goal is to be a head coach. 'm very open, whether it's at home or abroad. Having been around my father who has been to a lot of places around the world, I've seen the benefit of doing that."

Gary Speed

Eddie (right) has followed in the footsteps of his late father (Andrew Matthews/ PA/ UGC TCH)

The late, great Gary Speed would be so proud of his two sons, Eddie and Tommy, who have grown into fine young men since their dad's tragic death in 2011. And Eddie has even followed in his father's footsteps by pursuing a football career of his own.

Eddie travelled to America in 2017 after achieving a sports scholarship and rose up the ranks, with coaches at Herkimer College in New York State describing him as "an athletic and versatile player" with "an unbelievable work rate". He went on to represent sides University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks, Long Island Rough Riders, Western Mass Pioneers and Des Moines Menace. The 26-year-old now plays for Lansdowne Yonkers FC after joining them earlier this year.

Gary, of course, had a highly memorable career, playing in 535 Premier League games for Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United and captaining Wales on 44 occasions. He then became the inspiration for Wales' change in fortunes which later saw them reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals and qualify for another European Championship as well as a first World Cup since 1958.

Dai Young

Thomas has played under his dad at Wasps and Cardiff (Huw Evans Picture Agency)

There was a near perfect symmetry to Young senior and junior making their respective Wales debuts. While, following an injury crisis in the Welsh squad, the now-55-year-old prop won his first cap in a World Cup quarter-final against England in Brisbane in 1987, his son Thomas made his debut nearly 30 years to the day as he packed down against Tonga in Auckland in 2017.

After winning a total of 65 caps for Wales across both union and league, Dai moved into coaching and became head coach of Cardiff in 2003, ultimately leading them to the Challenge Cup title. He was later appointed as Director of Rugby at Wasps, guiding them to a runner-up finish in the Premiership final in 2017 before returning to Cardiff three years later. However, he was suspended by the club in April with an investigation ongoing.

Thomas, meanwhile, has followed a similar career path to his dad, coming through the ranks at Cardiff before leaving in 2014 and being re-united with Dai at Wasps, going on to make more than 200 appearance. The flanker made his Wales debut in the 2017 Six Nations before returning to Cardiff last year, missing out on an anticipated recall to the Test arena earlier this year after being ruled out through injury.

Steve Robinson

Jacob (right) became Welsh champion in the same weight division that his father fought in (WalesOnline/ Rob Browne)

The star of one of the most captivating stories in Welsh sporting history, Steve Robinson famously went from working as a shelf-stacker in Debenham's to becoming a world champion boxer in the space of 48 hours. The former WBO featherweight retired in 2002 after winning 32 of his 51 fights and has gone on to work as a coach and personal trainer to upcoming amateur and professional fighters.

One of those fighters is his youngest son Jacob, who has his eyes on creating a legacy of his very own. In 2021, 30 years on from when his dad last claimed the belt himself, Robinson junior was crowned Welsh Featherweight champion, beating Angelo Dragone in Cardiff and has gone on to win 10 of his 11 fights so far.

Speaking to WalesOnline last year, the now-28 year-old said: ""When people talk about me, they obviously talk about my dad," Jake says. "It's understandable, being in the same profession. There is pressure there. I used to feel it a little bit more than I do now. But now I just feel like going in and doing my own thing.

"We've got totally different styles to each other. In terms of my own career. I've got to thrive off pressure and embrace it."

Jason Koumas

Lewis (right) has signed a professional contract with Liverpool (Getty Images / Instagram: @lewis.koumas)

Koumas is remembered by fans as one of the big enigmas of Welsh football, a player with obvious natural ability but whose application often fell frustratingly short. The midfielder, who earned 34 caps for his country and represented West Brom, Cardiff and Wigan either side of spells at Tranmere Rovers, has also shunned the spotlight since hanging up his boots in 2015, instead focusing on other pursuits and nurturing the talents of his son Lewis.

That commitment has paid off, however, with Lewis signing a first professional deal with Liverpool earlier this year, having been at the club since he was 11 years old. Now 17, the striker has been scoring for fun at academy level, finishing as the under-18s side's top scorer as he looks to break into the U21 team.

Described as a "bit of an all-rounder" in his playing style, Lewis has even received recognition from Gareth Bale, with the Wales star offering his support when the teenager signed the contract back in January.

Rowland Phillips

Rowland and Carys Phillips were at one point coach and captain of Wales Women (Gareth Everett/Huw Evans Agency)

Back-rower Rowland won 10 caps for Wales between 1987 and 1990 and turned out for Neath RFC before switching codes and becoming a rugby league international who represented both the Welsh team and Great Britain. He later became the head coach of Wales Women before leaving the position in 2020.

During his time with Wales, he coached his own daughter Carys, who captained the side for the first time in 2016. Having played for Skewen RFC, Ospreys and Bristol Ladies, she has won 67 caps for her country, leading Rowland to admit that she had already had a better international career than him by the age of 25. Carys has just helped Wales end their best Women's Six Nations campaign since 2009 by winning three from five, seeing them rise to their best-ever world ranking of sixth.

Speaking about her relationship with her dad in a 2018 interview with WalesOnline, Carys said: "We have quite a good professional relationship as coach and player. I think it’s important within a team culture that’s the way it is. We have our own family time as well, which is fantastic. When you come away from here it’s great to be able to look back and see we shared these moments together as well as a family."

Rowland is now head coach at Merthyr RFC.

Owain Williams

Teddy Williams, wearing his Wales U20 cap, with his late father Owain (Teddy Williams)

The former Wales and Cardiff back rower sadly passed away in 2021 at the age of 56, leaving the rugby world in mourning. The ex-international, who also represented Glamorgan Wanderers and Bridgend, died following a long battle with cancer, three years after his brother and former Wales and Lions star Gareth Williams passed away after being diagnosed with incurable condition Multiple System Atrophy.

But Owain's son and Gareth's nephew, Teddy, has gone on to make them proud in his own career, earning a call-up to Warren Gatland's Six Nations squad earlier this year. The 6ft 6in lock signed his first professional contract with Cardiff in September 2020 and has gone on to make 20 appearances for the Blue and Blacks, impressing with his athletic performances in the URC and on the European stage.

Speaking about his late father in an interview with Cardiff, Williams said: "I wouldn’t say it drives me. I just know how much my dad used to love watching any of us play. He used to be at all the games, and he would have loved to have seen some of the games we’ve had down here recently.

“I probably didn’t realise how highly held Dad is at Cardiff. You probably take it a little bit for granted that he was a rugby player but he was also just Dad.”

Garin Jenkins

The former Wales and Swansea hardman won 58 caps for his country at hooker from 1991 to 2002 and played at three Rugby World Cups between 1991 and 1999. One of the last miners to play for Wales, he grafted away at the rugby coal-face for over a decade, establishing a reputation as a mighty scrummaging hooker.

While Garin is now long retired, his son Owen has followed in his footsteps. But while for many years he has served as a pacy winger for Pontypridd, Cardiff Blues and the Dragons, he has now gone on to emulate his dad by packing down in the middle of the front row as a hooker for Wales Sevens, competing at the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Cape Town.

Last year, Owen told WalesOnline that being in the front row "runs in the blood" with his dad delighted with his positional change. “You see these boys on the wing who are running the 100 metres in ten seconds and you think ‘Right, I’d better move into the forwards!’," he said. "So I have been practising my throwing in, which luckily runs in the blood,” he says.

“I have spoken to dad about it, but he says he just used to close his eyes and hope for the best! So I don’t know how far that will get me. I think he is loving it that I’m playing there."


Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.