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Wales Legend Passes Away

Wales Legend Passes Away

Willie Davies, who gained six caps for Wales at Rugby Union and nine for Wales at Rugby League has died in West Sussex at the age of 86.

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WILLIAM THOMAS HARCOURT DAVIES was born in Penclawdd on August 23, 1916 and died at Rustington, West Sussex on September 26.

He played for Penclawdd, Swansea, Headingley, London Welsh and the RAFand attended Swansea University before teacher-training at Carnegie College in Leeds, but in August 1939 he joined Bradford Northern Rugby League club.

Davies, along with his cousin and half-back partner Haydn Tanner, were still teenagers at Gowerton County School when they bemused the 1935 New Zealand tourists while playing for Swansea and played a huge part in the Welsh club’s 11-3 victory. When All Blacks skipper Jack Manchester rang home, he said: “Tell them we have been beaten, but don’t tell them it was by a pair of schoolboys.”

He made his debut at centre for Wales against Ireland in the Championship-deciding match of 1936 that Wales won 3-0 and played at fly half against England and Ireland in 1937 and then England, Scotland and Ireland in 1939.

The match against Ireland in Belfast was the last played by Wales for eight years and Davies scored all the points in the 7-0 win, dropping a goal (his first-ever and worth four points) and scoring a try (worth three points).

War-time rugby was allowed at both codes and Davies regularly turned out for Wales in Services matches at the Union game, often having a young Bleddyn Williams inside him at centre along with Rugby League star Gus Risman.

During the War, Davies was a physical training instructor and later a sergeant and was stationed in Weston for two years. He made three test appearances for Great Britain – against New Zealand in 1946 and 1947, having toured Australia and New Zealand in 1946 and appeared in several

Rugby League Cup finals and in the 1947 win over Leeds at Wembley he took the Lance Todd Trophy for the man of the match.Davies returned to live in Weston from 1950 and was a schoolmaster at the local Grammar School,

He leaves a wife Dorothy (who he married in 1939) and three children, as well as only nine surviving pre-war Wales Rugby Union internationals.

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