Phil Bennett: Phil Bennett, Legendary Wales and British Lions fly-half, dies at 73

Phil Bennett
In a glittering career, Phil Bennett played 29 times in Wales and eight more times for the Lions.

At 73 years old, Phil Bennett, legendary fly-half and captain of the British and Irish Lions and Wales, has passed away.

Bennett was a pivotal figure in Wales’ golden era. He helped them win two Five Nations Grand Slams during the 1970s.

He was also an actor in the Lions' unbeaten historic tour of South Africa in 1974. His 20 appearances for Barbarians were full of magic.

He is widely regarded as the greatest player to have worn the legendary number 10 shirt for Wales or the Lions.

Scarlets released a statement to announce Bennett's passing. It stated that Bennett was “one of all-time legends and widely regarded by Scarlets as the greatest player ever to have worn the Scarlets jersey”.

Bennett appeared in eight Test matches for the Lions during two tours. He was only the second Welshman ever to lead the Lions on their 1977 tour through New Zealand.

Llanelli RFC legend won 29 caps for Wales. He retired in style in 1978 after leading his country to a second Grand Slam in just three years, with victory over France in the final game.

Bennett, who had retired from rugby in 1977, was made an OBE and inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame 2005.

He was a popular BBC Wales pundit and he was a loyal supporter for Felinfoel RFC (amateur club in his village). a statue of the village icon was unveiled April 20, 2022

Delme Thomas, Bennett's ex-Scarlets captain and Wales and Lions teammate, said that he was “the best fly-half” he had ever seen.

Simon Muderack, Scarlets chairman, said: “We are devastated. People mention Phil Bennett wherever the Scarlets go around the globe.

He was an icon for our sport, a rugby star, but he never forgot his roots. Phil, an iconic ambassador for Scarlets Rugby, was respected throughout the rugby world both during his playing career and afterward.

“Phil was a hero, friend, and a great friend to so many people not only in Llanelli, west Wales, but throughout football. I am sure that many Scarlets supporters will have their stories of times they met Benny and shared their memories. He loved the club and epitomised the values we hold true — humility and pride in our community.

“On behalf all of the Scarlets, I send my deepest condolences and sympathies to Pat, Steven. James, Phil's family members and friends in this very sad time.

More information to come.

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