Wales and Lions legend regarded as one of the greatest rugby players ever dies aged 73

Wales and Lions legend regarded as one of the greatest rugby players ever dies aged 73

Wales and Lions legend regarded as one of the greatest rugby players ever dies aged 73.

Phil Bennett, the legendary Wales and British & Irish Lions rugby fly-half has passed away at the age of 73.

The world of rugby is in mourning this evening, Sunday, June 12, after news of the death of the legendary Wales and British & Irish Lions fly-half and captain Phil Bennett OBE, at the age of 73. He was globally recognised as one of the greatest No10s to ever grace the game.

Image of Phil Bennett. Credit: Twitter@scarlets_rugby

Scarlets Rugby announced his passing on Twitter, revealing that the rugby great had died at his home in the Welsh market town of Llanelli, surrounded by close family. In a statement, they said: “A player with stardust in his boots, he possessed a sidestep that would mesmerise defenders – his jinking run to spark ‘the greatest try ever scored’ for the Barbarians against New Zealand in Cardiff in 1973 will live long in rugby folklore”.

Bennett represented his country 29 times and was an integral part of the supreme Welsh rugby team of the 1970s that scooped three Triple Crowns and two Grand Slams in the Five Nations Championships. When the British & Irish Lions embarked on their historic unbeaten tour of South Africa in 1974, Bennett was again a key player in this achievement, scoring a personal tally of 103 points.

Having played in several positions for Wales, Bennett made the No10 jersey his own in 1972 when he succeeded another Welsh icon, Barry John. His outstanding ability on the rugby pitch earned him an OBE in 1979, and in 2005 he was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

In a post on Twitter, the Welsh Rugby Union described Phil Bennett as: ‘a rugby legend in every sense, and a true gentleman’.

‘We are saddened to learn of the death of Phil Bennett. Phil toured with the Lions in 1977 and was a key member of the revered Invincibles of ‘74. Our sympathies are with his family and friends at this time. He will be greatly missed. RIP Lion #506’, tweeted the British & Irish Lions.

‘A wonderful man, humble & funny, who could play a bit. RIP Mr Bennett, wrote Brian O’Driscoll, the former Ireland captain.

English rugby icon Sir Bill Beaumont tweeted: ‘Desperately sad to hear of Phil Bennett’s passing. One of the greats of Welsh & Lions rugby. Many a wonderful memory of touring with him in 77. Lovely person. Condolences to his family and friends at this sad time’.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at