IRB Hall of Fame – Induction No.88 – John Peter Rhys (JPR) Williams (Wales & British & Irish Lions) 1949-
One of seven legends inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in London on 17 November 2014. These inductions represent the incorporation into the IRB Hall of Fame following the acquisition of the International Rugby Hall of Fame.
Born 2 March, 1949 in Bridgend, Wales
JPR Williams will be remembered as one of the true legends of Welsh rugby. Talented enough to win the Junior Wimbledon tennis title in 1966, he chose to pursue the then amateur game of rugby instead as it allowed him to further his career as an orthopaedic surgeon. Making his debut against Scotland in 1969, he would go on to score six tries in 55 appearances for Wales before his retirement in 1981.
With his unkempt side burns, flowing locks and rolled down socks the full-back perhaps epitomised the swashbuckling spirit of the 1970s better than anyone. In many ways Williams was the complete full-back, combining bone-crunching hits and solidity under the high ball with superb attacking instincts. The doctor with a disregard for his own safety took tackling to another level when he shoulder-charged French winger Jean Francois Gourdon inches short of the line to save a certain try in the 1976 Five Nations.
Between 1969 and 1981, Williams helped Wales to six Triple Crowns and three Grand Slams, captaining the side five times in 1978-79. He faced England on 10 occasions and was never on the losing side. As a British & Irish Lion he took part in the series wins over both New Zealand (1971) and South Africa (1974).
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