Syd Millar Passes On

Swansea RFC was saddened to hear of the passing of Irish rugby’s legendary prop Syd Millar on Sunday. Syd’s stellar playing and coaching career saw him play both against and alongside Swansea players. In his three ‘Lions’ tours of 1959, 1962 and 1968 Syd played alongside Swansea’s John Faull (1959) and Dewi Bebb (1962). As a ‘Lions’ coach he coached Mervyn Davies in the invincible tour to South Africa in 1974.

Syd’s international career with Ireland spanned from 1958 to 1970, though sadly never in the green of Ireland at St Helen’s, which had seen its last Five Nations match in ’54.

Sydney Millar was born in Ballymena on 23 May 1934. A member of the local club throughout his playing career, he won 37 caps at prop for Ireland and made 44 appearances, including nine tests, for the British Isles on his three Lions’ tours between 1959 and 1968. He later coached the 1974 Lions on their unbeaten tour of South Africa and managed the 1980 touring side to the same country. Syd Millar’s distinguished contribution to the Barbarians included four Easter tours that spanned three decades from 1959 to 1971 and nearly 30 years as a committeeman from 1978. He was also chairman of the International Rugby Board. In 2012 he was appointed as a vice-president of the Barbarian Football Club.

Syd Millar played for the Barbarians four times at St Helen’s, this first being on 30th March 1959 in his first tour with the Baabaas. He returned to play again in April 1960, 1962 and in his last season as a player in April 1971. He made many friends at the club during these years. His son Peter alsoplayed for the Barbarians in 1987.

The thoughts of all at St Helen’s are with Syd’s family at this difficult time.