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England's Welsh key

ESPN staff
December 22, 2014
Mark Keyworth (back row, fourth from right) lines up with his England team-mates on his international debut © PA

Was Mark Keyworth the first Swansea player capped by England? asked Peter Matthews, England

Mark Keyworth, who died at his west Wales farm on November 24th, won four caps for England as a tireless Swansea flanker in 1976.

Born in Bridgnorth, he was educated at Ellesmere College - where he was a few years ahead of Bill Beaumont - and later at Cirencester Agricultural College.

His family were tenant farmers in Cardiganshire who rented before buying a farm which Mark later ran. He began his senior career with Aberystwyth RFC, later joining Swansea where he formed an all-international back row with Welsh caps Mervyn Davies and Trefor Evans.

He played county rugby for the North Midlands and made his England debut in the 23-6 victory over Australia in January 1976. He played alongside Andy Ripley and Tony Neary in the opening three games of England's subsequent Five Nations campaign before losing his place to Peter Dixon.

The only previous player capped by England direct from Swansea was Vic Roberts.

A Cornishman by birth, his job as a customs-officer took him to various ports along the British coastline. All told he won 16 caps as a flanker between 1947 and 1956, his England calls coming from spells at Penryn, Swansea and Harlequins.

He led his nation against Wales - in Swansea - in 1951.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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