Gerald Davies
Birth nameThomas Gerald Reames Davies
Date of birth (1945-02-07) 7 February 1945 (age 78)
Place of birthLlansaint, Wales
SchoolQueen Elizabeth Grammar School, Carmarthen
UniversityLoughborough College
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Cardiff University
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing/centre
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Loughborough Colleges
London Welsh
Cambridge University
International career
Years Team Apps (Points)
British Lions

Thomas Gerald Reames Davies CBE DL (born 7 February 1945 in Llansaint) is a Welsh former rugby union wing who played international rugby for Wales between 1966 and 1978. He is one of a small group of Welsh players to have won three Grand Slams including Gareth Edwards, JPR Williams, Ryan Jones, Adam Jones, Gethin Jenkins and Alun Wyn Jones.[1]

Early life

Born in Llansaint, Carmarthenshire, under the local coal miners scholarship scheme he studied at Loughborough University, before studying at Emmanuel College, Cambridge,[2] and appearing for the University rugby team. Davies taught at Christ's Hospital in Horsham, Sussex from 1971 to 1974[3] when he took up a post with the Sports Council for Wales.[4]

Rugby career

Davies played club rugby for Cardiff RFC and London Welsh. He captained Cardiff for three seasons in the 1970s, his most famous game for Cardiff probably being a 1977–8 Welsh Cup game against Pontypool when he scored four tries (beating his marker and near namesake Gareth Davies on each occasion) to earn his side a 16–11 win.

He made his international debut on Saturday, 3 December 1966 against Australia in Cardiff, where Wales lost 14–11 – he was to face the Wallabies again in his final appearance for Wales in 1978, this time in Sydney, and again a loss. All in all, he was capped 46 times for his country. He was switched from his original position of centre to the right wing by Wales coach Clive Rowlands on their 1969 tour of Australia and New Zealand, and thereafter played in that position.

Davies toured with the British Lions in 1968 and 1971 and was part of the group of Welsh Seventies legends, ranking in rugby history alongside Gareth Edwards, Barry John, JPR Williams, Phil Bennett and Bobby Windsor. A superb attacking player, he has been called one of the best wingers rugby has ever seen. Davies is best remembered for his try – one of 20 in 46 Tests – in the 1971 Five Nations match against Scotland. The Scots were leading before Davies scored in the corner in the last minute. Backrower John Taylor then kicked his famous conversion to steal victory.

Invited to join the 1974 Lions Tour of South Africa, he turned the opportunity down on his personal uncomfortable position at the consequences and realities of apartheid.[5]

Welsh & Lions Honours summary

For Wales: 46 Internationals, of which Wales won 29, lost 14 and drew 3 (points for 758, points against 507). 20 tries, 8 of them before the value of a try was raised to four points in the 1971–72 season (72 points in all).

For the British Lions: 5 Internationals of which the Lions won two, lost two and drew one (points for 54, points against 53). Davies scored three tries for the Lions during Test games, all of them on the 1971 tour to New Zealand (9 points).[6]

After retirement

After retiring as a player, Davies became a journalist, writing on rugby matters for The Times. He sat on Tasker Watkins committee to reform Welsh rugby. He became chairman of the Wales Youth Agency, and in the 2003 New Year Honours he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) "for services to Young People and to Rugby in Wales."[7][8]

Davies holds Honorary Fellowships from the University of Wales, Lampeter, the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and Wrexham Glyndŵr University.[9] He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Cardiff University in a graduation ceremony held on 15 July 2008.[10] On 18 July 2008, he received an honorary doctorate from Loughborough University for services to sport and journalism, and has also received an honorary doctorate from Swansea University.[9] He is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Gwent.[9]

In November 2007 he was announced as the manager of the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa.[11] Davies was elected to the post of President of the Welsh Rugby Union in September 2019 and took up the role in November 2019.[12]



  1. ^ Three Grand Slams
  2. ^ Davies (1979), pg 90.
  3. ^ Davies (1979), pg 126.
  4. ^ Davies (1979), pg 130.
  5. ^ Bills, Peter (17 July 2008). "Gerald Davies on the adventure of the Lions". The Independent. London. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
  6. ^ Gerald Davies' Lions profile
  7. ^ "Gerald Davies CBE". BBC Sport. 31 December 2002. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
  8. ^ "No. 56797". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2002. p. 7.
  9. ^ a b c "Presidents". Welsh Rugby Union. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  10. ^ "Honorary Fellowships awarded". Cardiff University. Retrieved 8 July 2008.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Davies named 2009 Lions manager, BBC website 20 November 2007
  12. ^ "Wales legend Gerald Davies elected WRU president". BBC Sport. 30 September 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2020.