Swansea RFC were saddened to hear of the passing of All Whites and Wales outside-half Bryan Richards, after a short illness, at the end of December at the age of 91.
Thomas Bryan Richards was a typical Welsh fly half, being clever, yet small player, whose only cap was in a side well beaten by France at Cardiff. From Neath Grammar School he went to Swansea University, who he captained, and then on to Jesus College in Cambridge University, gaining an Economics degree and winning a Rugby Blue in 1955 as well as touring with Oxbridge to Argentina.
He completed his National Service in the RAF, being an air craftsman at Hereford and playing in the Inter-Services tournament as well as appearing for the Combined Services against the Australians in 1957. He played at scrum half in school before switching to fly half for Skewen and Neath before making 161 appearances in the All-White jersey of Swansea from 1954-55 (breaking his ankle and wrist against Coventry in his second match) until his last match against Newport on January 8, 1966, scoring 198 points from 23 tries, 12 conversions, nine penalty goals and 26 drop goals and being captain in 1958-59. Bryan made his Swansea debut against Blackheath on 6th November 1954 and his last appearance on 8th January 1966 against Newport.
Nicknamed ‘Shrimp’ he appeared for Swansea against Romania in 1955, Australia in 1958 and South Africa in 1960. He made a Barbarian debut against the East Midlands in 1963 and played one game for Llanelli on March 3, 1962. A former Wales Schools cricket captain, who played for Glamorgan Seconds, he became a schoolmaster, moving from Brecon to London where he played rugby for London Welsh and skippered them in 1963-64. He was head of economics at Dulwich College and at Rugby School and was also senior housemaster at the latter, retiring in 1994 having coached every team in the school from under-14 to the first team. By 2000 he had lost his sight yet he became both captain and secretary of the England Blind Golf team, but, as a proud Welshman, he apparently wore a red vest beneath his England shirt! He lived at Hampden Way in the town of Rugby, though as a child aged seven in 1939 he was living at 6 Dryma Road, Neath Abbey. Bryan Richards was very proud of his Swansea RFC connections and in recent years was awarded his Swansea club ‘100 Cap’, which he was very proud of. He had been the oldest living Wales rugby outside-half and passed away in December 2023 after a short illness.
The thoughts of everyone at St Helen’s are with his son Rob and his family at this difficult time.