Former Wales centre passes on

Swansea Rugby Club are sad to announce the passing of Welsh cap Brian Davies, former Llanelli centre.

David Brian Davies was born on 7th July 1941 and passed away yesterday aged 79 yrs. Coming from a rugby family, Brian was the brother of Stuart Davies, Swansea centre (1963-76) and was the son of Welsh cap David Idwal Davies (capped v England in 1939). His father moved to Leeds RLFC and was also capped by Wales in the Rugby League code. Already a talented athlete as a youth, Brian represented Wales as a schoolboy in rugby, cricket and athletics before joining the Llanelli club.

Brian played for Llanelli from 1959 to 1965, making nearly 100 appearances, mainly as a centre, but also turning out as a wing or fly-half.

Brian also played a few games for Swansea. Whereas his brother Stuart moved from the Llanelli club to St Helen’s and had a long career there, Brian spent most of his playing days at Stradey Park, though he also played for Llangennech, Cardiff, Newbridge, Neath, Swansea, Pentyrch and Newport.

Brian Davies won three Welsh caps, all as a Llanelli player. The first was against Ireland in 1962. This match was known as the “smallpox game” as a serious outbreak delayed the fixture until November 1962. The result was a 3 – 3 draw. Brian actually received his cap 12 years before his father was granted his own from his 1939 appearance, due to Idwal having turned professional.  Brian Davies was reselected for Wales and played against England and Scotland in 1963. Wales lost to England in Cardiff and Brian was unfortunate in the Scottish match at Murrayfield, in that his skipper Clive Rowlands regulated the game to such a degree that poor Brian only touched the ball twice. This was the match where Rowlands’ kicking tactics resulted in 111 line-outs and although Wales won 6 – 0, Brian was an unfortunate casualty of the criticisms levelled at the Welsh side and was not reselected.

Brian Davies also coached Hendy RFC for a couple of years while recovering from a knee injury that ended his chances of reselection for Wales, though not his career at club level. He also coached at Pentyrch RFC.

Brian Davies’ talents were not limited to the rugby field. Since boyhood he had an interest in art and had for many years been known as an original portrait artist, his background in civil engineering, he mused, giving a structured feel to his paintings – Brian was a lecturer in Civil Engineering at the polytechnic of Wales. A set of 50 portraits published in 2008 was well received. Brian has had many exhibitions of his work and also raised over £20,000 for Cystic Fybrosis via his artwork.

At St Helen’s we are proud to possess two of his works. One was inspired by the 2003 Rugby World Cup and depicts Shane Williams eluding the tackle of Jonny Wilkinson. The other is a portrait of the famous James brothers David and Evan, showing the Swansea and Wales half-backs as they were following their reinstatement in 1896.

Brian Davies was also well known for his BBC radio rugby commentary on Saturdays for over 25 years.

Swansea RFC extends its condolences to Brian’s family at this sad time.