J. P. R(hys) Williams

(b. 1949) Welsh rugby union player

'J. P. R(hys) Williams' can also refer to...


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(1949– )

Welsh rugby player and doctor. He played for Wales (fifty-two times) and the British Lions and was the outstanding rugby union full-back of the 1970s.

The son of doctors in Bridgend, Williams attended the local grammar school before going on to Millfield School. He was a fine tennis player and won the junior championship at Wimbledon in 1966. After leaving school he went to study at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, where he joined the London Welsh rugby club. His defence tactics and attacking flair soon attracted the international selectors and he made his debut for Wales, as a nineteen-year-old, against Scotland in 1969. For ten years Williams was an integral part of the Welsh teams. In 1979 he captained both Wales to their fourth consecutive Triple Crown and his club, Bridgend, to the Welsh Rugby Football Union Cup.

He will also be remembered for his contributions to the victorious 1971 and 1974 British Lions tours: Willie John McBride, captain of the undefeated 1974 Lions in South Africa, said of Williams that his performances have ‘never been surpassed’. Since his retirement in the 1980s he has concentrated on orthopaedic medicine, particularly sporting injuries.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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