Clive Rees

Clive Rees
Full name Clive Frederick William Rees
Date of birth (1951-10-06)6 October 1951
Place of birth Singapore
Height 175 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 74 kg (11 st 9 lb)
School Llanelli Grammar School
University Loughborough College
Occupation(s) teacher
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Wing
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Loughborough Colleges
Llanelli RFC
London Welsh RFC
Barbarian F.C.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
British Lions

Clive Frederick William Rees (born in Singapore on 6 October 1951)[1] is a former Welsh rugby union player. He won thirteen caps as left wing for Wales between 1973 and 1983.

Clive Rees's rugby career started at Llanelli Grammar School in the late 1960s where he instantly became known as 'Fred' and played on the wing at all levels. In the same Llanelli & District Schoolboys team were future internationals Gareth Jenkins and Stephen Warlow, and Scarlets Bernard Thomas and David Mathias. He displayed his natural speed by winning both the 100 and 200 meters at the Colwyn Bay Secondary Schools Athletic Championship.

Rees went on to study at Loughborough College, where he played in the rugby team for three seasons alongside future stars Fran Cotton and Steve Smith. During a freshers trial Rees came off the wing to score under the post which prompted coach Jim Greenwood to invite him to join the senior squad. Rees played opposite Lewis Dick (who went on to play for Scotland). At only eighteen he found himself in the College Sevens team, beating Cardiff in the final of the Glengarth Sevens. It was here that a boy said to Steve Smith that Clive Rees was running so fast his legs were a blur, just like Billy Whizz from The Beano - a nickname by which Rees is still fondly referred to.

During a vacation from Loughborough, Rees returned home to play for Llanelli RFC. “He was selected for a ‘Welsh Trial’ in which he overtook J.J. Williams to make a try saving tackle, which made the selectors sit up and take note”. He won his first cap for Wales in 1973, the year he started playing for London Welsh, and played in the Welsh side that beat Australia in 1975.

He was reselected to the Welsh squad in 1980. “‘Billy Whizz’ was not only playing better than at any time in his career, but that his re-selection was long overdue. The London Welsh wing was never dropped again and although he never scored a try for Wales himself, his brilliant running and unselfish support ensured that many others profited handsomely. His legendary carving run down the left wing at Murrayfield produced one of the great Welsh tries of the decade in 1983.”

In 1983 Rees scored his 100th try for London Welsh against London Scottish, drawing a standing ovation. Rees was made captain of London Welsh for the club's 1984-85 centenary season. He was determined to make a break with the past, ignore nostalgic media comparisons to the great John Dawes era, and shake the club into a determined drive for excellence. Under his enthusiastic captaincy the club was unbeaten at home for a record-breaking seven months, and for the first time in its history London Welsh reached the final of the John Player Cup. Rees himself is on record as having scored most tries in the Cup with eleven after J.P.R. Williams' six. To cap the centenary season London Welsh went on a world tour.

Together with the likes of Kevin Bowring and Robert Ackerman, Clive Rees was in the London Welsh team that won the Middlesex Sevens.

During his career Rees also played nine times for the Barbarians and journalists voted him player of the tournament in the Hong Kong Sevens. In 1974, he was selected as the youngest member of the British Lions squad for the tour of South Africa. The Lions were unbeaten on that tour, with 21 wins and one draw. Rees had to stop playing after 7 games[2] because he broke his hand.

In 1987 Rees travelled to Japan to train the Toshiba team.

All the while Clive Rees was a highly respected school teacher. After starting his teaching career at Highdown School, he was head of rugby at Chiltern Edge School, then went on to become head of PE at Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School in London and later at Clifton College Prep School in Bristol.


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