|Date of Birth:||07/04/1930|
|Place of Birth:||Trebanog|
The biggest crowd-puller in rugby
today and reckoned to be one of the greatest fly-halves of all
time... was how Cliff Morgan was described in 1956 and no-one would
have disagreed. The words, however, are not from a sports page,
rugby annual or informed critic but appeared on the back of a
cigarette card issued by 'Radio Fun'! Cliff would approve of that:
he has been in his later career one of the most respected figures of
broadcasting. Who can forget his flowing commentary on that try in
the match between the Barbarians and the All Blacks in 1973? It was,
though, his own deeds on the field that have earned his recognition
in the Hall of Fame.
Cliff Morgan first played for Wales a month short of his 21st birthday in 1951. The young protégé was well-chaperoned. Rex Willis was his scrum-half and outside him in midfield were Bleddyn Williams and Jack Matthews. His direct opposite was the great Irish fly-half, Jack Kyle, who scored a try in a 3-all draw. Years later, Cliff wrote that Jack was a decent, lovely man who wouldn’t do anything dubious against you. Not the least of Cliff Morgan’s many qualities, whether describing other fly-halves or marauding wing forwards like another great adversary the Springbok Basie van Wyk, was his respect for his fellow human beings.
Variously described by South African and British writers as the star turn, the outstanding personality, a flamboyant character, yet homely and religious, Cliff captained the Lions to another victory in the third test at Pretoria and the series was drawn. Cliff played for three more seasons before retiring at the age of 28.
The finest hour for Cliff Morgan was
undoubtedly the Lions’ tour of South Africa in 1955. His try in the
first test at Ellis Park, when he scythed past van Wyk to score
under the posts, was the most celebrated rugby photograph of the
The Lions won a famous match 23 points to 22 in an era when any score in double figures was considered exceptional. Some still call it the greatest test.
|His final matches were as captain of a Barbarians tour to Africa where he played one final match at Ellis Park on 24th May 1958, alongside Tony O'Reilly and RH Williams, Arthur Smith, Hugh McLeod and Jim Greenwood, all 1955 Lions. He was amongst friends, playing for a club whose philosophy he thoroughly approved of, at the scene of some of his greatest triumphs. A fitting end to a glittering rugby career.|