R. H. Williams (rugby player)

R. H. Williams
Williams in action for the British Lions
Full name Rhys Haydn Williams
Date of birth (1930-07-14)14 July 1930
Place of birth Cwmllynfell, Wales
Date of death 27 January 1993(1993-01-27) (aged 62)
Place of death Whitchuch, Wales
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight 16 st 10 lb (106 kg)
School Ystalyfera Grammar School
University University College, Cardiff
Occupation(s) Education officer
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Lock
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team

University College, Cardiff
Llanelli RFC
Royal Air Force
Bristol Rugby
Barbarian F.C.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
British Lions

Rhys Haydn Williams (14 July 1930 – 27 January 1993), born in Cwmllynfell, was a Welsh rugby union lock forward who gained 23 caps for Wales and ten consecutive caps for the British Lions.[1] At club level he played primarily for Llanelli RFC, captaining them for a season. He also represented the Barbarians becoming the most capped Welsh representative of the club. In his later life he became a sports administrator, including the role of vice-president of the Welsh Rugby Union. Rugby historian John Griffiths described Williams as "the finest line-jumper in the world" and "the most accomplished British lock of the 1950s".[2]

Personal history

Williams was born in the small village of Cwmllynfell in 1930.[3] He was educated at Ystalyfera Grammar School and later matriculated to University College, Cardiff.[3] After graduating he joined the RAF as an education officer.[4] On leaving the forces he later becoming a research chemist for the Steel Company of Wales, and finished his professional career in educational administration as an Assistant Director of Education for Mid Glamorgan.[5] He died in 1993 in Whitchurch, Cardiff.[1]

Welsh captain, British Lion, Barbarian

While in the RAF, Willimas played in the Inter-Services tournament and for Combined Services. He made his debut in club rugby for Llanelli at the age of nineteen, going on to captain the club in the 1957–58 season. He made his debut for Wales in 1954 against Ireland and played at international level until 1960, captaining Wales against England in that year. He played for the British and Irish Lions, going on the 1955 Lions tour to South Africa and the 1959 tour to Australia and New Zealand. On these tours he played in ten consecutive test matches. He also toured Canada and South Africa with the Barbarians. In the final test against New Zealand in 1959, he won six consecutive line-outs in a critical period of the second half to deny New Zealand the chance to equalize.[2] He was the only forward to be named as 'Player of the Year' in New Zealand during the 1959–1960 season.

Andrew Bennett in his book Welsh Rugby Heroes includes R.H. Williams at No. 4 in his selection of the "all-time greatest" Welsh XV.


  1. 1 2 "Rhys Williams, Wales". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  2. 1 2 Griffiths (1990), p.90
  3. 1 2 Jenkins (1930), p.171
  4. Thomas (1979), p.137
  5. "Player Archive - R H Williams". barbarianfc.co.uk. Retrieved 2 January 2016.


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