Welsh Rugby
Wales great Cliff Morgan dies aged 83
ESPN Staff
August 29, 2013
British and Irish Lions fly-half Cliff Morgan is tackled, South Africa v British and Irish Lions, First Test, Ellis Park, Johannesburg, August 6, 1955
Cliff Morgan won 29 caps for Wales and four more for the British & Irish Lions © Getty Images

Former Wales fly-half and legendary broadcaster Cliff Morgan has died after a long illness at the age of 83.

Standing just 5ft 7in, Morgan won 29 caps for Wales and another four for the British & Irish Lions during an eight-year international career. After emerging as a notable talent with Cardiff, he played a pivotal role Wales' Five Nations triumph in 1952 and the following year, Morgan inspired first his club and then country to victory against New Zealand - still the last time the Welsh beat the All Blacks.

He also captained his country on four occasions and also led the Lions during their tour of South Africa in 1955. Such was his influence on proceedings in South Africa where the Lions drew the series 2-2, the newspapers dubbed him 'Morgan the Magnificent'.

After hanging up his boots, Morgan became a respected commentator and writer and is best remembered for his description of Gareth Edwards' try for the Barbarians against New Zealand in 1973 - considered one of the greatest tries in the history of the sport.

He suffered a life-threatening stroke at the age of 42 while more recently he was he was afflicted with cancer of the vocal cords and removal of his larynx, resulting in limited ability to speak. In 2009 he was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame, for his contributions to broadcasting, he earned an OBE and a CVO and more recently he was honoured by the Rugby Writers' Club.

Speaking to the Western Mail, ex-Wales winger JJ Williams said of Morgan: "Of all the internationals we've had in the past 100 years I can't think of one better than Cliff Morgan. Apart from that and his commentary, he was a lovely person."

Another former Wales international JPR Williams told the Daily Telegraph: "He was an icon of the game, a great player and a great man of the media."

WRU President Dennis Gethin said: "I have lost a friend and we have all lost one of rugby's greats who was also a true gentleman. His exploits as a player for Cardiff, Wales, the Barbarians and the British and Irish Lions are legendary but he also achieved so much off the field of play.

"As a broadcaster he became one of the best known faces and voices of radio and television in the UK and as a producer and editorial executive he reached the top of his profession.

"Despite all that success he remained a true gentleman throughout his life and always remained a true son of the Rhondda. He was rightly honoured during his life and he will definitely be remembered for all his contributions in so many fields of excellence."

David Pickering, the chairman of the WRU, said: "The world of rugby has lost one of its greats in the passing of Cliff Morgan. His incredible achievements both on and off the field are testimony to his skill, intelligence and integrity as a human being.

"The Rhondda Valley and Wales can be proud of Cliff who rose to prominence as a player before going on to achieve so much during his life off the field."

Roger Lewis, chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, said:"Cliff Morgan epitomised the values of Welsh rugby and throughout his life remained a great ambassador for our sport and for Wales. He possessed remarkable ability as an outside half whose flair was rightly recognised with the top honours rugby has to offer with Wales and the British and Irish Lions.

"His face was known to millions because of his successful career and perhaps that famous voice of his will live on forever particularly when we recall his magnificent commentary of the Gareth Edwards try against New Zealand for the Barbarians in 1973."

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