By Byron Mugford (Hon. Sec.) | 04/04/2013

The family of Billy Williams have asked Swansea RFC to announce that a family funeral service will be held on Friday 12th April, 10:00 am at Morriston Crematorium.

Swansea Rugby Club is very saddened by the news that W.O.G. (Billy) "Stoker" Williams passed away suddenly but peacefully, on Friday (29th) aged 83 years. His loss will be felt throughout the rugby world and especially by the Swansea Club that he graced with his play from 1949 to 1962.

Above: Billy Williams wrestles the ball free, Wales v Ireland at St Helens 14th March 1953.

Born on 23rd November 1929, "Stoker" Williams, a boiler maker and later a steelworker by trade won 22 caps for Wales between 1951 and 1956, scoring 2 tries. He gained his soubrique of "Stoker" from his time serving in the Royal Navy. He toured with the British & Irish Lions to South Africa in 1955 playing in 16 games including 4 tests, leading the pack which dominated the Springboks in the 3rd. Captaining Swansea in 1955-56 & 1956-57, he played in the Swansea side that drew 6 - 6 with the All Blacks in 1953 and also in the Swansea sides that played South Africa in 1951 and 1960 and Australia in 1958.

Above: Billy "Stoker" Williams leads a forwards rush. Swansea v Australia at St Helens, 11th Jan. 1958.

A great loose head prop, he was speedy in open play and powerful in the tight scrums and mauls as well as employing his height as a surprisingly useful lineout jumper. He was picked by the Welsh selectors as a prop for his first Wales cap aged 22 having been playing in the second row for Swansea, a rare example of their insight into a players potential. He played 305 games for Swansea, only really converting from second-row to prop fully in the 1953-54 season, where he then gained a fearsome reputation for his strength and technique in that role. Originating from the Gowerton Club, Billy also played for the Combined Services and Royal Navy teams as well as the Barbarians invitation side for whom he played three times in 1955 (v Leicester, Newport & Penarth). Away from the competitiveness of the rugby field, Billy was a quiet and kind gentleman. He retired in 1962. Such was his reputation among forwards of his day that, even in 2009, he was chosen at loose head in the Ospreylia "Dream Team" alongside Swansea's Garin Jenkins and Neath's Courtney Meredith, an indication of his standing in the game so many years after his retirement.

All our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. A minute silence was observed in respect of his passing, prior to kick-off at St Helens against Llanelli on Saturday 30th march.

 Byron Mugford. Hon. Secretary Swansea Rugby Club.

Above: the Swansea team that drew 6 - 6 with the 3rd All Blacks at St Helens, 12th December 1953. Billy Williams sits in the middle row, fourth from left, next to skipper Dil Johnson.

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