Swansea RFC was saddened to hear of the passing of ‘All Whites’ stalwart Morrie Evans on Monday. Morrie will be remembered as a long serving and loyal player for Swansea RFC and an abrasive and effective back row, feared and respected in the rugby world.
Morrie served the ‘All Whites’ for nearly twenty years, his debut coming against Taunton on 27th April 1955 at No8. But it was as a flanker that he made his name at St Helen’s as a no-nonsense forward with a knack of crossing the line. In fact Morrie was the club’s top try scorer in his first full season at St Helen’s as he ended the 1958-59 season with 12 tries, including a hat trick against the Welsh Districts side. At this time in his career, Morrie was playing on the wing.
A regular choice in the side throughout the ‘sixties, Morrie was also a natural selection when the Springboks came to St Helen’s on 26th November 1960 and were only victorious in the last few minutes, an 11 – 3 win that belied a close game.
Morrie was honoured with the captaincy of Swansea RFC in 1965-66, playing in 42 of the 46 matches that season, including leading the team on their tour in Czechoslovakia. He was again selected for a ‘big game’ when he turned out for Swansea in their famous 9 – 8 win over the touring Wallabies on 26th November 1966, a fitting pinnacle to his career.
The visit of the fifth ‘All Blacks to St Helen’s on 14th December saw Morrie again an obvious choice to face the tough New Zealand pack. A thrilling match slipped away in the latter stages as the tourists edged it by 16 – 9 in what became known as Dai Parkhouse’s match, he scoring all Swansea points in a wonderful team display.
Morrie’s appearances fell off at the end of the ‘sixties, though he made 16 appearances in the 1971-72 season, including playing in the reinstated Welsh Cup in 1972. His last match for Swansea was against Gloucester on 17th February 1973 at St Helen’s when, fittingly, the home side triumphed by 43 – 12.
Morrie had made 355 appearances for the ‘All Whites’, a wonderful record that was acknowledged on 22nd September 2018 at St Helen’s, when he was presented with his Swansea RFC ‘100 Cap’ in recognition of having passed that milestone, having done so way back in the 1962-63 season.
Below are two tributes to Morrie by Swansea team mates from both ends of Morrie’s career at St Helen’s:
Mike Thomas – Swansea RFC 1960-69, captain 1966-67.
There is so much I could say about Morrie, but here are just a few words and a story. Morrie Evans, one of the hardest and fittest players I ever played rugby with or against. We trained at St Helens one evening after meeting early in my career and he said to me: ”If you want to be the best, you have to be the fittest, and there is an example,” because training with us was Brian Curvis the famous boxer, and he was certainly the fittest and the best. Thanks for the advice Morrie.R.I.P.my friend.
Roger Blyth – Swansea RFC 1968-89, Wales 1974-80
I was so sad to hear of the passing away of Morrie Evans who I had the privilege of playing with in the early days of my career. Morrie was a skilful, uncompromising forward who was respected equally by his teammates and opponents alike. Added to this every time he took the field for the All Whites he did so with a ‘Team First’ attitude which endured to the end of his playing days. He will be remembered as a true legend of Swansea RFC an honour truly deserved. RIP Morrie