Former Wales and Lions fly-half dies aged 73

Phil Bennett has died aged 73

  • Phil Bennett kicked the bucket at the age of 73.
  • His previous band Scarlets declared themselves on Sunday, causing an outpouring of misery for the Welshman.
  • He is one of the nation’s most cherished legends in the game.

Bennett led Wales to two Five Nations Grand Slams in the 1970s and additionally took on a vital role in the Lions.

It was on his tour through South Africa in 1974 that he scored the most points as they went unbeaten in four Tests.

Having played for Llanelli RFC several times, the club said he was “one of the game’s untouched legends and widely regarded as the finest player to wear the Scarlets sweater”.

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“A player with stardust in his boots, he had an escape that would mesmerize protectors,” Scarlets said in an explanation.

His early ‘best attempt at any point scored’ rush for the Barbarians against New Zealand in Cardiff in 1973 will long be remembered in rugby fables.

“He was covered for Wales aged 20, playing several times for his country during a brilliant period for Welsh rugby where he was important to an imperious team that won two Grand Slams of the five nations and three triple crowns.”

Bennett won an OBE in 1979 while World Rugby inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2005.

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He went on to become a highly regarded journalist on radio and television after his retirement.

A sculpture of Bennett was also unveiled in his home town of Felinfoel in April.

“He was a symbol of our game, a rugby ace, but someone who usually remembered his underlying fundamentals,” Scarlets chief manager Simon Muderack said.

“There could not have been a better representative of Scarlets Rugby than Phil, a player highly regarded in the world of rugby, both during his calling and long after completing the playing process.”

Charles P. Patton