Home Nations Heroes, No 6 - JPR Williams

JPR Williams in action for Wales in 1978
JPR Williams in action for Wales in 1978
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THINK rugby in the 1970s and the image of a swashbuckling JPR Williams, with trademark sideburns and socks around his ankles, comes to mind.

John Peter Rhys Williams MBE, known as JPR to distinguish him from team-mate JJ (also John) Williams was a legendary figure in a legendary team. The full-back’s fearsome tackling and counter-attacking style was a feature of the Wales sides which won Five Nations Grand Slams in 1971, 1976, and 1978. In ten tests between Wales and England he scored five tries – exceptional for a full-back – and was never on the losing side.

Now 63, his rugby career in a part-time era came alongside studying to be and working as a doctor. Now an orthopaedic surgeon, Williams became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1980.

He has continued to be involved in rugby since retirement, and is currently president of Bridgend Ravens.