Mervyn Davies

This article is about the rugby player. For the former banker and UK government minister, see Mervyn Davies, Baron Davies of Abersoch.
Mervyn Davies
Full name Thomas Mervyn Davies
Date of birth (1946-12-09)9 December 1946
Place of birth Swansea, Wales
Date of death 15 March 2012(2012-03-15) (aged 65)
Height 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)[1]
Weight 108 kg (17 st 0 lb)
School Penlan County School
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Number eight
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
London Welsh RFC
Swansea RFC
Barbarian F.C.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
British Lions

Thomas Mervyn Davies OBE (9 December 1946 – 15 March 2012),[2][3] often known as "Merv the Swerve", was a Welsh rugby union player who won 38 caps for Wales as a No. 8.


Davies was born in Swansea, where he attended Penlan County School.

Davies joined London Welsh in 1968, later moving to Swansea. He won his first cap for Wales in 1969 against Scotland, going on to play 38 consecutive matches for Wales and scoring two tries. During this period Wales won two Grand Slams and three Triple Crowns. He went on the British and Irish Lions tours to New Zealand in 1971 and to South Africa in 1974, playing in eight tests. In a total of 46 international appearances for Wales and the Lions he only ended on the losing side nine times.

Tall and slight of frame, he grew a Mexican moustache to make himself appear more aggressive on the rugby field. He was nicknamed "Merv the Swerve" and is considered to be the greatest Number 8 that Wales has ever produced and one of its greatest at any position.[4]

His career was ended by a subarachnoid hemorrhage suffered when captaining Swansea against Pontypool in 1976. He had collapsed during a game on another occasion, four years earlier, and had been wrongly diagnosed with meningitis.[5] Following the second incident he was a patient in the University Hospital of Wales for several months, and received goodwill messages from all over the world.

In a poll of Welsh rugby fans in 2002, Davies was voted both Greatest Ever Welsh Captain and Greatest Ever Welsh Number 8. In 2001 he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.[4]

He was a smoker and was diagnosed with lung cancer (adenocarcinoma) in November 2011.

Davies had a son and daughter by his first wife Shirley; the marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his second wife Jeni and his three stepchildren, and by his two children from his first marriage.[3]



  1. "Mervyn Davies". Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  2. Mervyn Davies international rugby profile
  3. 1 2 "Telegraph obituary". 16 March 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  4. 1 2 "BBC Sport - Wales legend Mervyn Davies dies after losing fight against cancer". 16 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  5. Independent Sports
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