Following in the footsteps of his father Mike Shellard – who was also a legendary Ponty backrower – the young Rhys Shellard progressed through the junior and youth ranks with his local club, Aberdare.
International honours followed for Wales at under 16 and under 17 level as Rhys gained a fearsome reputation as a hard hitting flanker, his route to senior rugby guiding him into the ranks of the Warriors Academy.
Playing on permit for the Abercynon senior team in division two of the Welsh leagues, whilst still only eighteen years of age, Rhys continued to impress featuring for Wales at under 19 FIRA level in the 2004 Six Nations and World Cup tournaments.
Whilst studying sports science at Neath College, Rhys made a number of appearances on dual registration for Pontypridd in the Premiership, filling the blindside and openside flanker berths with the same industrious commitment before signing up on a permanent basis for the Sardis Road team at the commencement of the 2004/2005 campaign.
Making a huge impact at premiership level during the 2004/2005 season, Rhys became a core member of the Wales under 21 squad and was awarded professional regional status by the Blues Academy. Continuing his role as a dynamic openside flanker for both club and country, Rhys went on to captain the Wales under 21 team during the World Cup tournament of 2006.
A harrying and attacking flank forward, Rhys was released by the Blues Academy in 2008, joining Premiership rivals Cardiff RFC.
Placed on a contract with the Wales Sevens squad, Shelly returned to Pontypridd in readiness for the 2012-2013 campaign.
Rhys has been one of our all-round great flank forwards, he could do it all – fantastic over the ball in the ruck, a hard-hitting tackler and with the ball a dynamic runner with a good turn of pace and side-step.
In terms of international honours Rhys has represented Wales Youth, Wales FIRA U19, Wales U21, and Wales Sevens – captaining them during the Dubai leg of the World Series in late 2012.
During his time with Pontypridd Rhys won many honours, below celebrating winning the Welsh Cup in 2006 after a dramatic 26-25 win over Neath at the Millennium Stadium.
Rhys’ illustrious career with Pontypridd came to an ended with a well deserved testimonial match against South Wales Police in May 2022. He made 264 appearances for the club and scored 53 tries in the process.
Rhys Shellard: Flanker, 264 appearances 2003-2022