It is with deepest sadness that we confirm the passing of our former captain, Phil Bennett.
Surrounded by his loving family, Phil passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday 12th June, 2022, at the age of 73.
His sidestepping flair and silky skills saw him gain adoration from rugby supporters the world over, and he will forever be remembered as one of the game’s greats.
Having made his debut for Llanelli, against arch-rivals Swansea at the age of 18, he went on to represent his hometown club for 15 seasons, making 413 appearances with his final at his beloved Stradey Park in 1981.
As well as captaining the side for six successive seasons, scoring 131 tries and 2,535 points, Phil’s kicking prowess helped steer Llanelli to an infamous 9-3 victory over the All Blacks in 1972.
A Wales debut came in Paris in 1969, as a young 20 year old, once again making history when he became the first Welsh substitute in international rugby. He was named Wales captain in 1976.
With his rugby prowess making waves worldwide he was soon called upon for the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 1974. He toured a second time in 1977, on the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, this time captaining the travelling party.
In addition to two tours and 20 appearances for the Barbarians, Phil represented his country on 29 occasions before retiring in 1978. His swansong was something of a masterpiece, scoring two tries against France at the Arms Park in a 16-7 victory. Wales lifted the Grand Slam following that game, their third in the 1970s and second in three seasons.
Phil was awarded the OBE in 1979 for his services to sport and was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2005.
The community of his home village was able to thank Phil a few weeks ago for his contribution to village life and his work representing the village, town and Wales to a global audience, when a statue of him was unveiled at Felinfoel.
For those wishing to pay their respects, flowers can be left at the ‘Stradey Gates’ at the main entrance to Parc y Scarlets.
Phil Bennett 1948-2022