Phil Bennett: Tributes paid to Wales and Lions rugby legend who has died aged 73

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Tributes have been pouring in for Welsh “rugby legend in each sense” Phil Bennett, who has died after an extended sickness on the age of 73.

His loss of life was introduced by his former membership Scarlets, saying he was surrounded by his household.

Usually often known as “Benny”, he performed 413 instances for Llanelli RFC from making his debut as an 18-year-old to his last look in 1981. He additionally captained the aspect for six years.

He additionally performed 29 instances for his nation between 1969 and 1978, and was a part of the groups that gained two 5 Nations Grand Slams (beating each different workforce within the match) and three Triple Crowns (beating all the house nations).

An announcement from the Welsh Rugby Union referred to as Bennett a “Welsh Rugby legend in each sense and a real gentleman”, including it was “such unhappy information” to listen to of his loss of life.

Phil Bennett taking a place kick in 1978
Picture:
Bennett taking a spot kick in 1978

Scarlets added he was a “participant with stardust in his boots, he possessed a sidestep that will mesmerise defenders – his jinking run to spark ‘the best strive ever scored’ for the Barbarians towards New Zealand in Cardiff in 1973 will dwell lengthy in rugby folklore”.

“Our deepest condolences to Phil’s spouse Pat, their household and his many, many mates. Relaxation in peace Benny,” the membership added.

In addition to being broadly seen as among the best gamers to ever slip on the crimson shirt for Wales, he additionally performed fly-half for the British & Irish Lions throughout their unbeaten tour of South Africa in 1974.

The Lions gained 21 of their 22 matches, together with a 3-0 Take a look at collection victory over the hosts (one recreation was drawn), and later grew to become often known as The Invincibles – with Bennett scoring 103 factors through the tour.

He wore the captain’s armband three years later for the tour to New Zealand, scoring 125 factors, with the squad dropping the Take a look at collection 3-1 to the hosts.

He additionally turned out 20 instances for the Barbarians, who referred to as Bennett “a real rugby legend & an iconic determine in our historical past”, whereas former Wales and Lions teammate Delme Thomas referred to as him the “finest fly-half I’ve ever seen on a rugby subject”.

Llanelli Scarlets fans show their support in the stands as they display a cardboard cut-out of former Llanelli and Wales fly half Phil Bennett

‘A beautiful man, humble & humorous’

Sir Invoice Beaumont, English rugby talisman and chairman of World Rugby, additionally paid tribute, saying: “Desperately unhappy to listen to of Phil Bennett’s passing. One of many greats of Welsh & Lions rugby.

“Many a beautiful reminiscence of touring with him in 77. Beautiful individual. Condolences to his household and mates at this unhappy time.”

Former Eire star Brian O’Driscoll added his tributes, writing on Twitter that Bennett was “a beautiful man, humble & humorous who might play a bit”, whereas England former participant and now commentator Brian Moore referred to as Bennett “a real legend of rugby and a humble and beneficiant man”.

Bennett in 1977
Picture:
Bennett in 1977

Present Wales worldwide Richard Hibbard added on Twitter: “Misplaced a real Welsh nice, relaxation in peace Phil. Workforce within the sky bought one hell of a participant.”

Simon Muderack, the chief chairman of Scarlets (the membership which Llanelli feeds into), wrote: “Wherever the Scarlets journey all over the world, folks point out the identify Phil Bennett.

“He was an icon of our sport, a rugby famous person, however somebody who at all times remembered his roots. There was no finer ambassador of Scarlets Rugby than Phil, a participant revered throughout the rugby world, each throughout his profession and lengthy after he completed enjoying.

“He beloved the membership and epitomised the values we maintain true – humility and delight in our group.”

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