Former Wales and Lions captain John Dawes dies aged 80

Dawes captained Lions on only successful tour of New Zealand in 1971

 Lions captain John Dawes gets over the line for a try despite the efforts of Otago winger Bruce Hunter during the  1971 tour of New Zealand. Photograph: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Lions captain John Dawes gets over the line for a try despite the efforts of Otago winger Bruce Hunter during the 1971 tour of New Zealand. Photograph: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

 

Former Wales and Lions captain and coach John Dawes has died at the age of 80 following a period of ill health.

Dawes famously led the Lions to their only series victory over New Zealand in 1971, making four Test appearances for the tourists and winning 22 caps for Wales.

As a 23-year-old centre, he made a try-scoring international debut against Ireland in Dublin in 1964 and his storied career including captaining and coaching his country to Grand Slam titles.

“We’re unfortunately having to report some very sad news. After a period of ill health, John Dawes sadly passed away this morning,” his former club Newbridge said in a statement published on social media.

“Everyone associated with our game will be aware of John’s story and his great achievements within the game of rugby union.

“The heartfelt condolences of everyone here at Newbridge RFC go out to John’s family at this very sad time.”

Dawes, who played for London Welsh as well as Newbridge, was a central figure in Wales’ glory years in the 1970s.

His most successful year in the Test arena was also his final one as he announced his international retirement in 1971 having won the Grand Slam and been at the helm for a 2-1 series victory over the All Blacks.

Two years later he enjoyed more success against New Zealand as he led the Barbarians in their famous 23-11 win at Cardiff Arms Park.

Dawes became Wales coach in 1974 and he masterminded Grand Slam triumphs in 1976 and 1978.

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