World Rugby Hall of Fame – Induction No.109 – Thomas Mervyn Davies (Wales, British and Irish Lions, London Welsh, Swansea) 1946-2012
One of 25 legends inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame at Wembley Stadium, London, on 20 September, 2015.
Born: 9 December, 1946 in Swansea, Wales
Died: 15 March, 2012
In an era when so many Welsh players became household names, Mervyn Davies still managed to standout as one of the best. Instantly recognisable for his thick moustache and trademark white head bandage and affectionately known as ‘Merv the Swerve’ for his galloping runs, Davies was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, number 8 to pull on the red jersey for Wales and the British and Irish Lions.
His 38 caps for Wales, then a record for a forward, were won consecutively between 1969 and 1976, a halcyon period for Welsh rugby. Davies was just as indispensable for the Lions, playing in all eight tests on the triumphant tours of New Zealand and South Africa in 1971 and 1974. In his 46 international appearances for Wales and the Lions he only lost nine times.
The former London Welsh player was forced to call it a day after suffering a second brain haemorrhage playing in a cup semi-final for Swansea, three weeks after he had led Wales to a third consecutive Grand Slam. He was 29 at the time and at the peak of his career, captain for club and country and about to lead the Lions in New Zealand.
Davies sadly passed away in 2012 at the age of 65 following a long battle with cancer.
*Profile correct at time of induction