Journal De Bruxelles - Ex-British and Irish Lions, Wales captain Bennett dies, age 73

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Ex-British and Irish Lions, Wales captain Bennett dies, age 73
Ex-British and Irish Lions, Wales captain Bennett dies, age 73 / Photo: STF - AFP/File

Ex-British and Irish Lions, Wales captain Bennett dies, age 73

Former British and Irish Lions and Wales rugby captain Phil Bennett has died aged 73, his former club the Scarlets announced on Sunday.

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Bennett featured 29 times for his country, winning the Five Nations outright on three occasions and started eight Tests for the Lions against South Africa and New Zealand.

"It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the passing of club legend, former captain and Scarlets President Phil Bennett," the club said.

"Phil passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday evening surrounded by his close family.

"Our thoughts are with Phil's wife Pat, sons Steven and James, family and friends at this incredibly sad time."

Bennett was best known for his creative attacking skill and is remembered for his rousing pre-match speech made to his Wales team-mates before 1977's Five Nations win over England at Twickenham.

His Test debut made the history books as he was rugby's first replacement substituting the injured Gerald Davies at centre for his international bow as a 20-year-old in the 1969 defeat to France in Paris.

Bennett led the Lions on the 1977 tour to face the All Blacks following Mervyn Davies' injury but the travelling side lost the series 3-1.

At club level his greatest result came in Llanelli's 9-3 victory over the touring All Blacks in 1972.

After retiring from all forms of the game in 1981 became an after-dinner speaker, was a pundit for both television and radio and was named president of Llanelli and the Scarlets.

In 2005, he was admitted into World Rugby's Hall of Fame, joining his former half-back partner Gareth Edwards, who had been inducted eight years earlier.

H.Dierckx--JdB