j.p. dimaggio

J.P.R. Williams

John Peter Rhys Williams (born 2 March 1949 in Cardiff, Wales), known universally as J.P.R. Williams (a necessary disambiguation given that he was a contemporary and frequent team-mate of another John Williams, J. J. Williams), played rugby union for Wales between 1969 and 1981.

Williams was also a tennis player. There is a popular urban myth that he won Junior Wimbledon in 1966 (in fact won by a Soviet, Korotkov). However, it is true that he won a British Junior competition that happened to be held that year at the Wimbledon venue, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, beating David Lloyd.

Williams gave up tennis for the then-amateur game of rugby union in order to pursue a career in medicine. He quickly attracted attention and was consequently first capped by Wales in 1969, aged 19. He went on to earn 55 caps for Wales and 8 for the British Lions. He played club rugby for Bridgend and London Welsh.

He had many high points in his career, being a key player in a Welsh side that won Grand Slams in 1971, 1976, and 1978, but is particularly remembered for his record against England; in 10 tests between Wales and England he scored five tries and was never on the losing side. He was also outstanding for the Lions, winning the 1971 series against New Zealand with a long-range drop-goal and playing a major role in the 1974 'invincible' series against South Africa. More importantly for a Welshman, he played England 11 times and was never on the losing side.

Williams retired from international rugby union in 1981 and continued his career as an orthopaedic surgeon. He continued playing club rugby for many years, playing throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He now lives in the Vale of Glamorgan.

After retirement, he attempted to win nomination to become a Conservative Party potential parliamentary candidate in Cardiff North; but failed.


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