LEGENDARY Wales and British & Irish Lions captain Phil Bennett has died aged 73.
Bennett was a key figure in Wales’ golden era, helping them win two Five Nations Grand Slams in the 1970s.
Wales and Lions legend Phil Bennett has passed away aged 73[/caption]
Phil Bennett was always given a warm reception with Wales rugby fans and was pictured with the Six Nations trophy after the 2005 Grand Slam[/caption]
The fly-half also starred in the Lions’ historic unbeaten tour of South Africa in 1974, while he produced moments of magic in his 20 appearances for the Barbarians.
Bennett is regarded as one of the greatest players to wear the fabled No 10 shirt for Wales and the Lions.
The Scarlets announced Bennett’s death and said in a statement he was “one of the all-time legends of the game and widely regarded as the greatest player to wear the Scarlets jersey”.
Bennett made eight Test appearances for the Lions over two tours, becoming only the second Welshman to captain the Lions when he did so on their 1977 tour of New Zealand.
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The Llanelli RFC great won 29 caps for Wales. He retired in style in 1978 by captaining his country to a second Grand Slam in three years with victory over France in his final game.
British & Irish Lions tweeted: “We are saddened to learn of the death of Phil Bennett.
“Phil toured with the Lions in 1977 and was a key member of the revered Invincibles of ’74.
“Our sympathies are with his family and friends at this time. He will be greatly missed. RIP Lion #506.”
Phil Bennett in action at the old Arms Park in Cardiff before it was rebuilt[/caption]
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Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll tweeted: “A wonderful man, humble & funny who could play a bit. RIP Mr Bennett.”
Former England captain Sir Bill Beaumont, chairman of World Rugby, added: “Desperately sad to hear of Phil Bennett’s passing. One of the greats of Welsh & Lions rugby.
“Many a wonderful memory of touring with him in 77.
“Lovely person. Condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.”