Banner image

IN-DEPTH: Jack Wallace - 'My Granddad Was A Huge Influence On Me; I'll Miss Him'

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Jack Wallace, who has been coming to terms with the sad passing of his grandfather, Wasps and England legend ‘Ted’ Woodward.

Woodward, who won 15 caps and scored six tries for England in the 1950s, passed away in January at the age of 86 and Wallace paid tribute to a man who ‘lived life with no regrets’ and had a ‘massive’ impact on his career.

“He was a massive influence on not only my rugby, but also my life in general,” says Wallace.

“He had such a big impact on everyone he met, he’s been so supportive of the family and anything we’ve done.

“It’s been tough, but he got to 86 which is a hell of a run and he lived his life with no regrets. We had the funeral last Friday and it was a fantastic send off for him with over 350 people there, so it was fitting and one he truly deserved.

“I’m extremely sad to see him go because he had a massive impact on my life, but I’m really pleased he got such a good send off.”

Like Wallace, Woodward played in the back three before making the unusual switch to number eight in the latter stages of his career and the 26-year-old would regularly pick his brains for pre-match advice. It’s a routine that will be sorely missed by Wallace, but fondly remembered.

“Right up until his last few weeks I was getting phone calls before games and he was still giving me the same advice he gave me years ago when I first started out in the game,” says Wallace.

REMEMBERED: Ted Woodward alongside England and Wasps lock Joe Launchbury at the Ricoh Arena (Photo: JMP UK). 

“He was just a massive rugby fan in general, he loved the game and any bit of rugby he could watch on television, he would and he’d spend most of his days out and about talking to his old rugby mates. It was either golf or rugby for him.

“He was just a huge influence on my whole family in whatever we did.”

Wallace has experienced a good career in rugby and is thankful that the professional era has been devoid of the kind of challenges faced by his granddad in the 1950s.

“He achieved 15 caps for England, which back in the 50s was a massive achievement – some people compare it to almost 50 caps these days”, he says.

“I’m hugely proud of what my granddad achieved and obviously back then he was balancing being a full-time butcher with being a full-time international. It’s hard to fathom really, what he had to go through - having a full-time job and then jumping on the train to play an international match at Twickenham.

“He was a Wasps legend and it was great to see a minute’s silence at the Ricoh Arena last weekend and that was a fitting tribute to him.

“He was a one-club man and spent his career at Wasps and it was fantastic for me as a young child in the area to grow up supporting them and then to go on to play for them.”

SLIP AND SLIDE: Jack Wallace dives over for a try against Pau at Ashton Gate (Photo: JMP UK). 

For one reason or another, it didn’t quite work out for Wallace at Wasps, but the versatile back is enjoying his West Country stay. His tenure at Bristol has seen many highs and lows, but Wallace is now hungry to ensure that promotion to the Premiership wasn’t just a fleeting visit.

“I’ve been hugely grateful for the opportunity in Bristol. I’m into my fourth season now; it’s flown by and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The past few seasons have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride; we were bitterly disappointed to miss out on promotion the first two times and it was hugely frustrating, but it just goes to show the character of the club, the strength of the fan base and the character of the lads to be able to get through that and it was great to get Bristol back to where they belong.

“We’re now competing at the highest level and that’s where every player wants to be. It’s been fantastic to be involved and to contribute to the team this season and hopefully we can stay up and kick on.

“The beauty of the lads we’ve got here is that we’ve all got that one vision, whether lads be staying on next year or not, it’s massively key that we all have that one aim.”

ALL SMILES: Wallace congratulates Jack Tovey on his second half try against Sale Sharks (Photo: JMP UK). 

The former England Under 16, 18 and 20 international has enjoyed an extended run in the starting XV in recent times, slotting in at full-back or on the wing. But with competition for places at a premium, he’s only too aware of the need for consistency.

“I’ve been pleased with my form this season,” he says. “In a very competitive environment and competitive squad it’s obviously fantastic to be able to play so many games and have so much rugby – but all the players playing week in, week out know they have to be on their A game otherwise someone will come in and do a better job, so it’s important that the squad remains competitive and boys stay fit.

“It’s great to have a few lads back in training and getting back into games because it adds to that competition.”

After an emotional few weeks, Wallace is now gearing himself up for crunch time in the Aviva Premiership clear in the knowledge that survival for Bristol could well be the perfect tribute.

By Will Carpenter.

Related News

IN-DEPTH: Gaston Cortes - Trucking, Rucking And Living The Dream

IN-DEPTH: Gaston Cortes - Trucking, Rucking And Living The Dream

Posted: Tuesday, January 31st 2017

IN-DEPTH: Comeback Kid Hurrell Taking Centre Stage

IN-DEPTH: Comeback Kid Hurrell Taking Centre Stage

Posted: Tuesday, February 7th 2017

Fenton-Wells Set To Join Bristol

Fenton-Wells Set To Join Bristol

Posted: Tuesday, April 26th 2016

VIDEO: Fenton-Wells Insists Bristol Will Maintain Intensity

VIDEO: Fenton-Wells Insists Bristol Will Maintain Intensity

Posted: Tuesday, December 6th 2016

Latest News

Thacker relishing home semi final

Thacker relishing home semi final

Posted: Sunday, September 20th 2020

Stat attack: Bristol Bears 56-17 Dragons

Stat attack: Bristol Bears 56-17 Dragons

Posted: Sunday, September 20th 2020

Bears to host Bordeaux in Challenge Cup semi-final

Bears to host Bordeaux in Challenge Cup semi-final

Posted: Saturday, September 19th 2020

Video: Bristol Bears 56-17 Dragons Rugby

Video: Bristol Bears 56-17 Dragons Rugby

Posted: Saturday, September 19th 2020

Also from Bristol Sport

Holden staying grounded after 'outstanding' football
Football icon

Holden staying grounded after 'outstanding' football

Dean Holden saluted his team for some ‘outstanding football’ as his side went toe-to-toe with Stoke City and came away with all three points.

Posted: Sunday, September 20th 2020 • Football

Spirit the key for Moore
Football icon

Spirit the key for Moore

A beaming Taylor Moore says the team’s spirit gives them the platform to believe they can compete with any opposition this season.

Posted: Sunday, September 20th 2020 • Football

Wells off the mark in Potters win
Football icon

Wells off the mark in Potters win

Goalscorer Nahki Wells praised an “outstanding” team performance as the side took all three points in the 2-0 win away to Stoke City.

Posted: Sunday, September 20th 2020 • Football

Report: Stoke City 0-2 Bristol City
Football icon

Report: Stoke City 0-2 Bristol City

City struck late in each half to compile a first defeat of the season on Stoke City and maintain Dean Holden’s 100% record.

Posted: Sunday, September 20th 2020 • Football

MansionBet Match Preview: Stoke City (A)
Football icon

MansionBet Match Preview: Stoke City (A)

City's first away trip of the season arrives this Sunday as Dean Holden marches his men to the bet365 Stadium to take on Stoke City (September 20th, 2pm KO).

Posted: Sunday, September 20th 2020 • Football