World Rugby Hall of Fame – Induction No.105 – Carwyn Rees James (Wales) 1929-1983

One of 25 legends inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame at Wembley Stadium, London, on 20 September, 2015.

Born: 2 November, 1929 in Cefneithin, Wales
Died: 10 January, 1983 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Twice-capped by Wales as a player in 1958, Carwyn James is best known for his success as a coach while with Llanelli and the British and Irish Lions.

James was a visionary who proved adventurous, free-flowing rugby could be winning rugby. He guided the Lions to a sensational series victory in New Zealand in 1971 and went on to coach Llanelli and the Barbarians to famous wins in consecutive years. The Scarlets also claimed four Welsh Cups under his stewardship.

The Wales national team job was the one glaring omission from the CV of a coach who many regarded as without equal in the game. Softly-spoken, James had a canny knack of getting his point across to players who were encouraged to go forward, regardless of the position on the pitch.

A proud Welsh speaker and ardent nationalist, James stood for parliament as a Plaid Cymru candidate in the 1970 general election. In his later years he became a respected rugby broadcaster. He died suddenly of a heart attack in 1983 at the age of 53.