Wales great Bleddyn Williams dies
July 6, 2009
Bleddyn Williams has died aged 86 © Getty Images
Legendary Cardiff and Wales centre Bleddyn Williams has died aged 86.
Williams, christened 'the Prince of centres', won 22 caps for Wales and held the captain's armband when they last defeated the All Blacks in 1953, having already led Cardiff to victory over the same opponents weeks before.
Alongside Dr. Jack Matthews he formed one of the great centre partnerships for Cardiff, Wales and the Lions. The Williams name became synonymous with Cardiff rugby and he was one of eight brothers to pull on the blue and black of the club.
In 1950 Williams served as vice captain of the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand, playing 20 games on tour and captaining the side in two Tests against the All Blacks the absence of Irish hooker Karl Mullen.
Williams made his Test debut against England in 1947 as Wales won a share of the Five Nations title, having served with the Royal Air Force during World War Two. He retired following a Test match against England in 1955, entering in to a successful career in the media.
He was awarded an MBE in the 2005 New Years Honours, and died following a long illness at the Holme Tower medical centre in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan.
"Bleddyn will be remembered by us all as a true gentleman of our national sport who was rightly celebrated as a genuine 'class act' both on and off the field of play," said Cardiff CEO Bob Norster in a statement.
"His outstanding abilities both as a player and an individual saw him respected and admired throughout the rugby playing world and his sad passing is mourned by his many friends and acquaintances here at the Arms Park and far beyond."