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Death of Barry Nelmes

1st December 2006

The former Cardiff captain and English international prop has died.

Former Cardiff captain Barry Nelmes has died suddenly at the age of 58. He was a backbone of the Blue & Blacks’ pack in the 1970s and also became the first club player to be capped by England. The funeral service will take place at St Peters Church (off City Road) 12.00 midday on Wednesday 13 December and then at Thornhill Crematorium.

Originally from Bristol, where he attended Portway Secondary School he represented England Schools (under-15) against Wales at Twickenham in 1963. At the time he was playing in the second row and was equally at home at number 8. His natural mobility and ball handling ability stood him in good stead when he transferred to loose-head prop in senior rugby. At 6’2” and 17st he was ideally built for the modern game and made rapid progress through the representative ranks.

Having made his first-class debut for Bristol as a 16-year-old he was selected two years later for the Western Counties XV that beat the touring Wallabies. In later years he also turned out for the combined team against the All Blacks and Springboks.

Nelmes joined Cardiff in 1973-74 and packed down with Alan Phillips and Mike Knill in an outstanding front-row that was the platform for another famous club triumph over the 1975 Wallabies. In the summer of the same year he had flown out to Australia as a replacement and won the first two of his six caps for England. His first ‘home’ international was in 1978 against Wales. In the same pack was another Cardiff legend, John Scott, then with Rosslyn Park, while the opposition included club mates Gareth Edwards and Gerald Davies.

Having been vice-captain for two seasons he succeeded Davies as club captain in 1978/79 and went on to play 166 first team games for Cardiff. He also played for the Barbarians in two particularly prestigious fixtures - the historic Queen’s Silver Jubilee Match against the British & Irish Lions at Twickenham in 1977 and, the following year, as a replacement against the All Blacks at the National Stadium in Cardiff