Lions legend Bleddyn Williams has died at the age of 86.
A Lions tourist in 1950, the ‘The Prince of Centres’ was regarded as arguably the most-complete midfield player of his generation.
Despite missing the first four games of that tour through injury, the Cardiff three-quarter played in 20 of the 29 fixtures on the near four-month trip across Australia and New Zealand. He scored 13 tries and set up countless others for his Lions team-mates on a tour that saw a comfortable defeat of the Wallabies after an agonising loss in an incredibly close Test series against the All Blacks.
By captaining the side in the absence of Karl Mullen during the third Test in New Zealand, Williams became the first Welshman to skipper the Lions since 1910. In total, he led the Lions in three Test matches, scoring a try against Australia in Brisbane in his final Test in charge.
A superb all-round player, Williams had a knack of creating space for others. As well perfecting the basic arts of the game, he possessed an impressive sidestep and a deceptive turn of speed.
Born in Taff’s Well in February 1923 but brought up in Penarth near Cardiff, Williams won a scholarship to attend Rydal School in Colwyn Bay from the age of 14-18.
He represented his country at Schools level in 1937 before making his Cardiff debut as a teenager. Having served in the RAF in the Second World War, Williams was a regular in the Victory Internationals of 1945 and 1946, later winning 22 full international caps for Wales over an eight-year period between 1947 and 1955.
Williams was the last man to skipper Wales to victory over the All Blacks, doing so in 1953, just three weeks after achieving the same feat with Cardiff.
He captained his country on five occasions and finished on the winning team in each of those fixtures – a record for a Welsh skipper.
Born: February 22, 1923
Died: July 6, 2009
International caps: Wales 22
Lions debut: Versus Otago, May 20, 1950
Lions Tests: 5 (2nd, 3rd and 4th Tests vs NZ 1950, 1st and 2nd vs Aus 1950)
Lions non-Test appearances: 15
Total Lions appearances: 20
Lions points: 65* (13 tries) *under the current scoring system of five points for a try
Final Lions appearance: Versus New South Wales XV, Newcastle, September 4, 1950