World News – GB – Obituary: JJ Williams


Last updated less than a minute agoLess than a minute ago From the Welsh Rugby section

John James Williams MBE, the former wing of the Welsh and British and Irish Lions affectionately known to the world as JJ, has died aged 72

He scored 12 tries in 30 tests as Wales won four Five Nations titles, including two Grand Slams, in the 1970s

A former sprinter who represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games, Williams has also scored five tries in seven tests for the Lions on two tours

Three of Williams’ children have also represented Wales in athletics, including his son Rhys Williams, European hurdler champion

Showing aptitude for rugby and athletics with his prodigious pace, he represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1970 as John Williams – he would later become known as of JJ to avoid identity clash with the other John Williams in Wales rugby team, the legendary full-back JPR Williams

At the 1970 Games, JJ Williams demonstrated his speed with a time of 106 seconds in the 100m heats, as well as competing in the 200m and 4x100m

He was quick, no doubt, but he also felt he wouldn’t be quite world class on the track

Williams first played for Bridgend before joining Llanelli in 1972, and his move to West Wales would lead to a first international selection in 1973

Naturally he enjoyed a rapid rise and a year after his Wales debut Williams was called up by the British and Irish Lions for their legendary 1974 tour of South Africa.

The Lions finished the 22-game tour unbeaten – winning three and a draw in Tests against the Springboks – with Williams scoring two tries in each of Test Two and Three

Huge success with Wales followed, as Williams helped his country win the Five Nations Championship four times between 1975 and 1979

This included Grand Slam tournaments in 1976 and 1978, as Williams and his teammates asserted their status as greats not only of Welsh rugby, but also of sport in general.

Williams has played in every game of every campaign this period, ending with a total of 12 tries in 30 appearances for Wales

He rolled the curtain on his career in typical fashion, scoring a try in his last game to help Wales beat England to claim the 1979 Five Nations title

After his retirement Williams made a name for himself as an outspoken expert, co-commenting on international and club rugby for BBC Wales

Williams also ran a commercial and industrial painting company based in Pyle, near Bridgend, but he still appeared on the airwaves or in the newspapers from time to time to express his opinions on the game

These views have ruffled a few feathers at times, but he has remained a respected figure in the sport for all he accomplished in a golden period for Wales and the Lions

Wales, J J Williams, British and Irish Lions, rugby union

News from around the world – GB – Obituary: JJ Williams



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