It is with great sadness that we heard today of Colin Hillman's passing away after a prolonged battle with cancer.
It was with great sadness that everyone at the Ospreys learnt of the tragic death of a former Ospreylian, Colin Hillman yesterday. Although Colin did not represent the Ospreys, as the Region was not in existence during his own playing career, he made a significant contribution to rugby within the Bridgend area, and both his playing & coaching contribution will have had a significant impact on the development of the game as a whole. He won international caps at both Welsh schoolboy & youth level, before going on to captain the Welsh 7's Team, a team which he later coached. He also played as hooker forthe Bridgend Ravens but also played for the Barbarians, Swansea, South Wales Police, Bridgend Sports and Merthyr rugby clubs.
Colin Hillman was part of rugby history when he played for the Wales Youth team which defeated South Africa Youth 30-25 at the Newlands ground, Cape Town on May 31, 1980 in a curtain raiser match before the British& Irish Lions played the Springboks. Two of his team-mates that day were future internationals Bleddyn Bowen and Ray Giles and the game remains the only Welsh international win against a South African international team on South African soil.
Away from rugbyColin worked as a South Wales Police officer and served for a significant part of his career as a South Wales Police Armed Response Officer. He presented the jerseys to the Wales squad which then headed for Dubai and won the Rugby World Cup for the first time earlier this year.
Paul Thorburn, Ospreys Strategic Development Manager, said
"I was fortunate (or unfortunate as the case often was!) to play against Colin on numerous occasions during the 80's and he proved to be one of the most complete rugby players of his era. Not only a rugged player but also a fine ball handler, but whose ball skills were perhaps more apparent during his 7 a-side exploits, where the opportunities presented themselves more readily than in the 15 a-side game. It is a tragic loss, especially at such a young age and our hearts go out to his family and close friends."
Colin Hillman is survived by his wife, Janine and two sons Ben and Matthew.