JPR Williams dies: Wales rugby legend passes away aged 74

JPR Williams, a Welsh rugby icon and former British and Irish Lions full-back, has passed away at the age of 74. He was a key figure in Welsh rugby’s golden era during the 1970s, contributing significantly to Wales’ three Grand Slam victories and featuring in the victorious Lions tours to New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa in 1974.

Williams was renowned for his fearless, aggressive style of play, earning 55 caps for Wales and starting in all eight Tests across those two Lions tours. He was also a part of the legendary 1973 Barbarians side that scored the “greatest try ever” against New Zealand.

Williams’ club, Bridgend Ravens, expressed their deep sadness at his passing, remembering him as one of the most decorated players and an icon of world rugby. In addition to his rugby career, Williams was an accomplished orthopaedic surgeon, following in the footsteps of his parents who were both general practitioners. He studied medicine at St Mary’s in Paddington after attending Millfield School in Somerset. His journey in rugby began at London Welsh, where his talent caught the attention of the national selectors, leading to his selection for the summer tour of Argentina in 1968.

He was a resident of Vale of Glamorgan, married to his wife Scilla, and a father to four children. In 1977, he was honored with an MBE for his services to rugby. Williams continued playing for various clubs, including Bridgend, London Welsh, and Tondu, well into his 50s before retiring in 2003

He will be missed by many and fondly remembered by all in world rugby.

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