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Cardiff, the Blues and the Lions

11th April 2005

Ever since the legendary Gwyn Nicholls toured Australia with the British Team in 1899 players from Cardiff and the wider Blues’ region of recent years have regularly featured in the Lions’ squads that have gone to the southern hemisphere.

Cardiff supplied six players when the Lions toured South Africa in 1968 - Gerald Davies, Gareth Edwards, Barry John, Keri Jones, John O’Shea and Maurice Richards. In addition Billy Raybould, born and bred in the city, was selected while playing for London Welsh.

Several other Lions were born in the region but selected while with other clubs. These include Tommy David (with Llanelli in 1974), Gary Prothero from Beddau (Bridgend 1966), Steve Fenwick from Nantgarw (Bridgend 1977), Ian Stephens from Tongwynlais (Bridgend 1980 and 1983), and Mike Griffiths from Tonypandy (Bridgend 1989).

On the last Lions’ tour to Australia in 2001, as well as four Cardiff players there was Darren Morris, then playing for Swansea but born in Aberdare.

The Complete List of Lions from the Blues Region (1899-2001)
1899 Gwyn Nicholls (Cardiff)
1904 Rhys Gabe, Percy Bush (both Cardiff)
1908 Reggie Gibbs, Johnnie Williams (both Cardiff); L S Thomas (Penarth)
1930 Jack Bassett (Penarth), Harry Bowcott, Howard Poole (both Cardiff)
1938 Ivor Williams (Cardiff)
1950 Billy Cleaver, Cliff Davies, Jack Matthews, Bleddyn Williams, Rex Willis (all Cardiff)
1955 Gareth Griffiths, Cliff Morgan, Haydn Morris (all Cardiff), Russell Robins (Pontypridd)
1959 Roddie Evans (Cardiff)
1962 Kingsley Jones, Keith Rowlands (both Cardiff)
1966 Ken Jones, Howard Norris (both Cardiff)
1968 Gerald Davies, Gareth Edwards, Barry John, Keri Jones, John O’Shea, Maurice Richards (all Cardiff)
1971 John Bevan, Gareth Edwards, Barry John (all Cardiff)
1974 Gareth Edwards (Cardiff)
1977 Brynmor Williams (Cardiff)
1980 Gareth Davies, Terry Holmes, Stuart Lane, Alan Phillips (all Cardiff)
1983 Terry Holmes, Robert Norster (both Cardiff)
1989 Robert Norster, David Young (both Cardiff)
1997 Robert Howley, David Young (both Cardiff), Neil Jenkins (Pontypridd)
2001 Robert Howley, Neil Jenkins, Martyn Williams, David Young (all Cardiff)