J.J. Initially One Of The Greats

Phil Steele summed it up perfectly

’”Im sure I speak for many of my age when I say that we have lost part of our rugby childhood, One of the all time greats of Welsh Rugby. #RIPJJ.

Those of us who grew up with the Wales team of the 1970’s have a spiritual bond with the players that we worshiped, and J.J. Williams’ death feels personal to us in a way we cannot begin to describe.

My first attendance at a Welsh international was against England at Twickenham in 1974, the day when Max Boyce’s blind Irish referee disallowed JJ’s try.

I can confirm here and now that it should have been awarded. John West was 25 metres behind play and couldn’t see the touchdown, but I could.

From that day onwards J.J. Williams was always somewhere in my excuse for a brain, but more importantly he was in my soul.

I am not ashamed to admit that I shed a few tears last Thursday, when the sad news broke, the problem when you get to my age is that this sort of news gets more and more frequent, but as Phil Steele touched upon those childhood memories are so magical and so untarnished that you feel you lose something of yourself when folks of this kind leave us behind, it was just the same with “Merv” and “Grav”

I count myself so fortunate to have been a teenager when the “Welsh Whippet” made that red number 11 jersey his own. In fact I was even more blessed that he also played for “my” club, Llanelli. 

His playing feats have been written about in obituaries over recent days, but this small heartfelt tribute hopefully goes deeper than records and achievements.

Thank you John James Williams for lighting up a young boy’s passion for this wonderful game, you will never be forgotten, sleep peacefully.


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