John Dawes: Former Wales and British & Irish Lions captain dies aged 80

April 16, 2021

Former Wales and Lions captain John Dawes has died at the age of 80.

Dawes is the only player to have captained a winning Lions tour series of New Zealand - doing so in 1971.

The centre also skippered Wales to a Grand Slam in that same year, in what was then the Five Nations, and was made an OBE in 1972.

Newbridge RFC, the club where Dawes started his senior rugby career, confirmed his passing on Friday.

They said: "We're unfortunately having to report some very sad news. After a period of ill health, John Dawes sadly passed away this morning.

"Everyone associated with our game will be aware of John's story and his great achievements. His venture into senior rugby started with us here at the Welfare Ground.

"The heartfelt condolences of everyone at Newbridge RFC go out to John's family at this very sad time."

Dawes made four Test appearances for the Lions as well as winning 22 caps for Wales.

As a 23-year-old centre, he made a try-scoring international debut against Ireland in Dublin in 1964.

He went on to coach Wales, winning four Five Nations titles including two Grand Slams, and also coached the Lions in 1977.

The Lions tweeted on Friday: "We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Lion #487 John Dawes.

"Captain of the Lions on the 1971 Tour, the only Lions side to win a series in New Zealand, Dawes made 19 appearances for the Lions.

"A true legend of the game, John will be sorely missed."

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