Ospreys statement re: Mervyn Davies

Everyone at Ospreys Rugby was saddened to hear today of the death of Mervyn Davies, aged 65, following a battle with cancer.

Born in Swansea, ‘Merv the Swerve’ was one of the true legends of the game, earning a reputation as one of the leading number eights of all time.

Having moved to London to become a school-teacher he signed for London Welsh in 1968, from where his obvious talents were quickly recognised and he made the first of his 38 appearances in the red of Wales early in 1969 against Scotland in Murrayfield.

He won two Grand Slams, captaining Wales to their 1976 success, and three Triple Crowns. He enjoyed an enviable record with the British Lions, going on two historic tours in 1971 and 1974, making eight test appearances.

He returned home to play for the All Whites in the seventies, but his career was cut tragically short at the age of 29 when he suffered a brain haemorrhage while in action for Swansea in 1977.

In 2001 he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame and the following year a poll of Welsh rugby fans saw him voted the greatest ever Welsh captain and the greatest ever Welsh number eight.

In 2008 he was named in the Ospreylian Dream XV, selected by a panel of rugby experts.

Ospreys Managing Director, Roger Blyth, was a team-mate of Davies with Swansea and Wales, and he paid tribute to his former colleague, saying:

"I'm very sad to hear the news of Mervyn passing away. A true legend of Ospreylian rugby and a great servant to Swansea, Wales and the British Lions, Mervyn was an inspirational leader who never took a backward step on or off the pitch. I consider myself fortunate to have known him as a team-mate and a friend.

"His career was cut short in unfortunate circumstances, but nothing will ever take away from what is a tremendous legacy as a captain of his country, double Grand Slam winner, and a successful Lion who won in New Zealand and South Africa. The thoughts of every rugby person in Ospreylia and beyond will be with Mervyn's family and friends today."