Andy Powell reveals he blew everything he had gambling
Former Wales and Lions rugby star Andy Powell has revealed he blew everything he had gambling, but says he is "getting better now".
Now aged 41, Powell's 18-year rugby-playing journey started with Llandovery and took him to Newport on a £32,000 a year contract as an unproven teen. Beziers in France, Leicester Tigers, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Wasps, Sale Sharks, Dragons and Merthyr all followed. Along the way he was capped 23 times by Wales, appeared in the 2011 World Cup, toured South Africa with the 2009 Lions and turned out for the Barbarians. The rampaging back-rower also had a stint with 13-a-side Super League outfit Wigan Warriors.
But Powell was also no stranger to lows, including being banned from driving after motoring along the M4 in a golf buggy during the celebrations which followed Wales’ last-ditch win over Scotland in the 2010 Six Nations, leaving Wasps by mutual consent after being caught up in a pub brawl and later suffering from depression at the end of his career.
Now, the former No. 8 has opened up about a gambling problem while appearing on The Big Jim Show podcast with former Scotland star Jim Hamilton, who asked: "If you're gambling all the time, have you got anything left?"
Powell replied: "Mate, I had probably blown everything. It's a sad thing to say, but I think back then you had no help. With players now you could go and say 'I've got a problem', they'll give you the help, the advice. But we didn't have it back then."
Hamilton asked: "So what was the problem, gambling and then you've blown it? As in you blew everything?"
"Yeah, everything, yes," Powell said. "But I'm getting better now."
Powell was asked about his earnings, and said: "I probably averaged about £170,000 a year, £240,000 at Sale.
"I could sit here now and say I regret it all, and I regret it. But then you have to move forward, you have to get on with life. It was tough but I'm my own person to blame, I don't blame anybody else."
Powell explained that he bet on horse racing, and would sometimes find himself asking his club for an advance on his wages. "Sometimes you would blow everything, and then you'd be ringing the club up saying can you put another month's wages up front. It was pretty bad at the time, that bad."
Powell has pointed to becoming a father and staying occupied as ways he has left gambling in the past.