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J.P.R. Williams Article

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J.P.R. - a player so good that no surname is necessary. The initials are instantly recognisable to any true rugby fan.

Born in Bridgend, Williams was part of Wales golden generation during the 1970's. Long before the dawn of the professional era, J.P.R. was a model sportsman, with pace, power, bravery and a love of attacking rugby, a combination which made him one of the greatest full-backs of all time.

Rugby was not the only talent possessed by John Peter Rhys Williams though, and at 17 he could have been lost to tennis, winning the Junior Wimbledon ***le. Luckily he was not swayed though, and his love of the oval ball saw him go on to win 55 caps for his country, becoming the most capped Welsh full-back ever in the process.

Having toured Argentina with a Welsh XV in 1968, Williams left such an impression that he was handed his first full cap a year later, a 17-3 victory over the Scots at Murrayfield. Williams would go on to aide Wales to a Grand Slam in 1971, despite suffering a fractured cheekbone during victory over England, a side who he was remarkably never on the losing side against. However, this was not enough to put Dr Williams out of his stride, having studied medicine at university on London, and later becoming fully qualified.

J.P.R. also collected 8 Lions caps during his career, the highlight - landing a 45 metre drop goal against New Zealand in a 2-1 series victory.

William's full range of skills were allowed to flourish as he was part of the legendary Barbarians team to take on New Zealand at Cardiff Arms Park in 1973.

On top of this, if any evidence were needed of William's toughness, several examples spring to mind - during the infamous "99" Lions call in South Africa, he delivered to lock Johannes van Heerden what the Springbok player would later describe as "the finest punch he had ever received"; and secondly during a match for Bridgend in 1978, where unfazed by a torn cheek, Williams retired from the pitch, only to stitch the injury himself and return to the action.

One final statistic of which J.P.R. is one of few players to hold, is that he has won caps as both a back and a forward. Before his eventual retirement in 1981, to concentrate on his medical career, Williams played one match for an injury ravaged Wales at flanker during a tour match in Australia.

Originally posted by loratadine@May 12 2006, 08:58 AM
ummm.... mate where welsh. rugby league is a swear word in wales.
Surely 'rugby league' is two swear words...

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