Haydn Mainwaring Royal Navy, Swansea, Barbarians, Newport and Wales
Haydn Mainwaring sadly passed away recently. He is remembered by rugby followers for the greatest ever tackle by a Welsh player. It was for the Barbarians against the 1960-1961 South Africans who went into the match unbeaten and were desperate to go through the tour without a loss. They were not the friendliest and most sociable of tourists and the rugby public were solidly behind the Barbarians. Haydn was called in as an uncapped Full Back the day before the game.
The Baa Baas led 6-0 mid way through the second half when the Springbok captain, Avril Malan broke away from a lineout and went charging down the touchline looking certain to score. Haydn Mainwaring came across and hit him with a shoulder charge that knocked him into touch and he lay on the ground badly winded. This challenge would be deemed illegal with today’s laws, but a shoulder charge was perfectly acceptable at the time. This lifted both the Barbarian Team and the crowd and they held out to the end. In fact Haydn produced another brilliant tackle on wing Mike Antelme when he looked certain to score.
This game has gone down in Welsh Folk law as Haydn Mainwaring’s game. Photos taken at the end of the game show him carrying off Malan the Springbok’s Skipper. A hard man on the field, but always a great Sportsman. Malan was so shaken he failed to attend the post-match dinner.
Haydn was born in Swansea on 10th June 1933. He died on 12th September 2018. He attended Bishop Gore School where he learned his Rugby earning Welsh Caps at Under 15 and Secondary Schools level. He joined the Royal Marines where he played for the Royal Navy and Combined Services.
Haydn made his debut for Swansea against London Welsh in season 1951-1952and made 95 appearances for the club until 1962-1963, scoring 229 points. He played Centre, wing, Full Back and Back Row. He was capped for Wales in 1961 against France in Paris as a Centre. He should have won more caps, but he played in so many positions, he was a victim of his own success. He played 10 times for the Baa Baas and served for many years as a committee man.
The sympathy of all at the club is extended to Haydn‘s Wife Eryl and their family.