Wales rugby player Elliot Dee fuelled by the loss of his mum ahead of 50th cap on Mother's Day

  • Wales hooker Elliot Dee spoke with ITV Wales' sports reporter Matt Southcombe ahead of potentially winning his 50th cap against France in the Six Nations.

Like all rugby players, Elliot Dee has a tough exterior.

You don’t survive at the professional level - or indeed any level - without one.

But beneath it all, a fire burns in him which is fuelled by personal tragedy.

In 2016, when he was 20 years of age, his mother Lynn died following a short illness.

She never saw her son play for Wales. Now he prepares to earn his 50th cap against France on Mother’s Day.

Dee's mother, Lynn, passed away after a short illness in 2016, one year before he first played rugby for Wales Credit: Instagram/Elliot Dee

"[She was] like any mother, really - over the top, loving,” he tells ITV Wales. "She'd never tell me if I had a bad game.

"She meant the world to me and it was a lot to deal with at a crucial age.

"It's been a bit of time now - eight years on 7 February just gone. She's always in my thoughts and I give her a little kiss or look up to the sky before a game to see her there.

"I have something on my wrist and I always give it a little kiss before the game. It may be silly to other people but it means a lot to me.

"In the dressing rooms or on the way to games I can just imagine her being there with a daffodil on her head being over the top and waving at the bus going wild.

"It's tough to talk about but it's nice to think about and gives you motivation on the way to games."

  • Dee wears a tribute to his late mother on his wrist when he turns out for Wales.

Since Lynn died, her son has carved out a superb club career at the Dragons, made his senior debut for his country and played at two World Cups.

She witnessed his prowess as a youngster, but has missed some of his biggest achievements.

“Losing your mam at 20 years of age takes a lot to get your head around,” he says, his voice cracking with emotion.

“I’ve done a lot of stuff in my life that I would have liked for her to see.

“But that’s what life is. It happens to everyone and it’s the sort of stuff you have to suck up and just know that she was there, she’d be proud of the things she’s missed.”

His 50th cap will be a poignant day for a number of reasons. Dee now has a family of his own, with partner Ruby and two-year-old son Jesse.

  • Dee says both of his parents sacrificed a lot to give him a chance to play professional rugby.

The hooker was also keen to pay tribute to Ruby’s family, who have been there for him throughout their 15-year relationship.

"My partner Ruby has been outstanding, we've been together for more than 15 years,” he points out with a smile.

"She mothers us all in the house. She's absolutely amazing.

Elliot Dee with his son Jesse and partner Ruby. Credit: Instagram/Elliot Dee

"Ruby's mother has been great as well. I see her as that mother figure in my life.”

Sunday will be an emotional day for the Dee family. Reaching 50 caps is an important milestone in the life of any professional athlete and nobody flukes their way to it.

Lynn might not be in the crowd when the whistle goes on Sunday. But maybe, just maybe, she’ll be watching.

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