1959 British & Irish Lions tourist Terry Davies passes away


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British & Irish Lions tourist and Welsh rugby legend Terry Davies has passed away

Davies was selected for the 1959 Tour to Australia and New Zealand and finished as the leading points scorer despite injury restricting him to just 13 of the 31 games.

A popular figure among teammates and rugby fans alike, Davies kicked 21 conversions and 15 penalties with his metronomic boot in the famous red jersey.

He played in two of the four Tests against the All Blacks, including the victorious fourth Test, as the Lions avoided the whitewash with a 9-6 triumph in Auckland.

During the second Test, Davies picked up a leg injury in the first quarter of an hour but remained on the pitch and kicked a penalty and a conversion in the narrow 11-8 defeat.

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His influence in his two Tests was so great that Davies was recognised with a place in the team of the series by the Wellington Evening Post ahead of All Blacks great Don Clarke.

Speaking about his experience, Davies said: “That 1959 tour was huge for me. I got injured early on and then had to climb back into the team again.

“It was magnificent playing for the Lions. It meant you’d reached the top of the ladder. It was a very long Tour, six months practically. I had to give up my business to go on the Tour.

“And very few people had any wages out of it. We lived on 10 shillings a day, which is 50p in modern money, but we managed and we had an absolutely magnificent Tour.

“The welcome that we had when we arrived in Auckland is the abiding moment that I feel when I look back. There must have been 40,000 people in the airport waiting for us.

“We were the first Lions to fly. We were then transported by these antique, open-top cars to our hotel and we passed through streets laden with people.

“It seemed that the whole of New Zealand had come out to meet us. New Zealand was definitely one of the places I would have emigrated to if I was that way inclined.”

Having beaten Australia twice on their way to New Zealand, the Lions went into the 1959 series full of confidence but the compelling four-match series ended 3-1 in the hosts’ favour.

“I came up against Don Clarke, one of the greatest fullbacks of all time. He was a huge kicker and a big man. His two brothers played front row and he was about the same size,” Davies added.

“We scored four tries in the first Test and we still lost the game. Every time they came into our half, Clarke kicked a penalty. He got six in the end and we lost 18-17.

“We then scored three tries in the final Test and they didn’t score any. It was a great way for us to finish and we felt we deserved something out of the series.”

Born in Llwynhendy, the timber merchant and saw-mill owner was an accomplished all-round player who almost had a promising career ended five years before his Lions bow.

He won his first international cap as a teenager against England in the 1953 Five Nations and was expected to become a mainstay in the Welsh line-up after a string of impressive displays.

But a serious shoulder injury in the summer of 1954 meant the full back would not play for his country again until 1957, having suffered a series of setbacks along the way.

It appeared his international career was over before it had properly started at one stage, until an operation to re-wire his shoulder eventually saw him return to the game.

Davies joined Llanelli from Swansea in 1956 and played out the rest of his career at the club, earning himself an international recall for Wales in 1957.

He retained the No.15 jersey for four seasons until his retirement, memorably striking the post with a penalty attempt that would have defeated England in the 1958 Five Nations.

The former Devonport Services, Royal Marines and Royal Navy man also toured South Africa and Canada with the Barbarians before captaining his country three times during his final season.

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