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JPR Williams – one of rugby union’s greatest players – dies aged 74

JPR Williams – one of rugby’s greatest ever players – has died. He was aged 74.

JPR – as he was universally known – was a full-back renowned for his fearless courage and commitment.

He was instantly recognizable by his flowing locks and bushy sideburns.


John Peter Rhys Williams, born in Bridgend, was at the beating heart of a golden era of 70s’ Welsh rugby.

He played for his country 55 times and won three Grand Slams in 1971, 1976, and 1978.

He played for the British and Irish Lions in eight tests across two tours to New Zealand and South Africa in 1971 and 1974.

His death was announced by his local club Bridgend Ravens RCFC.

It read:

“Bridgend Ravens are devastated to announce the passing of JPR Williams.

“One of Bridgend’s most-decorated players and an icon of world rugby, JPR served the club most recently as club president.

“Our thoughts are with JPR’s family and friends at this sad time.”

A later statement from the Williams family, wife, Scilla, and his children, Peter, Lauren and Annie, read:

“JPR died peacefully today at the University Hospital of Wales surrounded by his loving wife and four children, after a short illness, bravely battling bacterial meningitis.

“The family request privacy at this difficult time.”

JPR later became an orthopaedic surgeon.

He recounted in his autobiography:

“I used to say that I spent half my life breaking bones on the rugby field, then the other half putting them back together in the operating theatre.”

Watch JPR Williams play a pivotal role in one of the greatest tries ever scored on a rugby union pitch.





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