Former Wales winger JJ Williams – who scored five tries in seven Tests for the Lions – dies aged 72 


Former Wales winger JJ Williams – who scored five tries in seven Tests for the Lions – dies aged 72

  • Ex-Wales and British and Irish Lions winger JJ Williams has died at the age of 72
  • The news of Williams’ passing was confirmed on Thursday morning
  • He scored 12 tries in 30 appearances for Wales and won two Grand Slams

Former Wales and British and Irish Lions winger JJ Williams has died at the age of 72.

Williams, who was christened John James but known throughout the world of rugby by his initials, was one of the finest finishers the game has seen.

He scored 12 tries in 30 appearances for Wales and won Grand Slams in 1976 and 1978, as well as four Triple Crowns between 1976 and 1979.

Wales and British Lions legend JJ Williams has passed away at the age of 72

Williams toured South Africa in 1974 and New Zealand in 1977 with the Lions and his try-scoring exploits put him into the tourists’ record books.

He equalled David Duckham’s record of six tries in a single Lions game during a 97-0 victory over South West Districts in 1974.

Williams scored four tries in the subsequent 3-0 Test series triumph against South Africa, becoming only the second Lions player to score two tries twice in a Test.

He scored another Test try in New Zealand three years later and his five-try Test haul is only second to Ireland’s Tony O’Reilly, who crossed six times during the Lions tours of 1955 and 1959. 

Williams (R), who scored 12 tries in 30 Wales appearances, was one of game's all-time greats

Williams (R), who scored 12 tries in 30 Wales appearances, was one of game’s all-time greats

He won Grand Slams in 1976 and 1978, as well as four Triple Crowns between 1976 and 1979

He won Grand Slams in 1976 and 1978, as well as four Triple Crowns between 1976 and 1979

One of his former clubs, Bridgend, confirmed the news on Thursday morning.

They tweeted: ‘All at Bridgend Ravens are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former player JJ Williams.

‘Our thoughts are with JJ’s family and friends at this tough time.’

Former Wales second row Craig Quinnell also paid tribute following the news.

He tweeted: ‘It’s with a heavy heart I write this. My God father. My friend. My mentor and a inspiration to me passed away today. He was a legend to all. RIP JJ.’

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