Rugby

A number of famous Welsh rugby players have also been talented cricketers.

Billy Bancroft

Billy Bancroft was one of the first stars of Welsh rugby, winning great fame for his swift running and prodigious kicking abilities – a no mean feat at a time when rugby players used a heavy leather ball.

Standing at just 5ft 6ins tall, Billy won 33 caps as a full-back for Wales between 1890 and 1901, and he enjoyed a distinguished career with Swansea RFC from 1889 until 1903.

Billy was also a highly talented cricketer and in 1895 became Glamorgan’s first-ever full-time professional. His father and grandfather had also played for the Welsh county and in later years, Billy (seen below) helped to coach the emerging young sportsmen of Swansea, including Gilbert Parkhouse who went on to play for England.

A signed cigarette card of Billy Bancroft.
Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Alan Rees

Alan Rees played professional rugby and cricket. A talented fly-half with Maesteg, Aberavon and Llanelli, he won three Welsh caps in 1962 before turning professional and joining Leeds Rugby League FC. He played in 216 first-class matches for Glamorgan between 1955 and 1968, and was widely regarded as amongst the best cover fielders in county cricket. Alan (seen below) won his county cap in 1963 and the following year appeared as a substitute fielder for England in the Third Test of the Ashes series against Australia.

Alan Rees, seen at Swansea in 1962.
Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Keith Jarrett

Keith Jarrett played both rugby union and rugby league for Wales, besides winning honours in the amateur code with Newport and the British Lions.

He hit the sporting headlines as an eighteen year-old in April 1967 when on his debut for Wales he sprinted almost the length of the pitch to score a try, before walking back to complete the conversion. The former pupil of Monmouth School also played twice for Glamorgan in 1967 and showed rich promise as a lively medium-pace bowler. Sadly, Keith’s (seen below) sporting career was cut short in 1973 when he suffered a stroke at the age of just 25.

Keith Jarrett.
Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Carwyn James

Carwyn James played rugby twice for Wales in 1958, but the former schoolmaster won greater fame as the highly successful coach of Llanelli and the British Lions. In 1971 Carwyn coached the British Lions to their first-ever series win in New Zealand and the following year, he oversaw Llanelli’s famous victory over the All Blacks at Stradey Park. In his youth, Carwyn had been a talented spin bowler in club cricket in West Wales, and the fluent Welsh speaker also took part in live broadcasts and commentary on Glamorgan matches for BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru.

Percy Bush

Percy Bush was one of the major stars of world rugby in the Edwardian era with the Cardiff-born sportsman being a member of the Welsh side which defeated the 1905 All Blacks. The fly-half won eight Welsh caps besides touring Australia and New Zealand with the 1904 British Lions where his swift running and passing won him rave reviews. He was also a highly talented cricketer for both Cardiff and Glamorgan before moving to live and work in France.

Percy Bush in his rugby kit.
Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Teddy Morgan

Teddy Morgan was the man who scored the winning try for Wales when they defeated the 1905 All Blacks at the Arms Park. The former pupil of Christ College Brecon won sixteen caps on the wing for Wales between 1902 and 1908, besides leading the British Lions on their 1904 tour to Australia and New Zealand. “Doctor Teddy” (seen below) was also a fine cricketer and whilst working as a GP in Swansea he played several times for Glamorgan in Minor County matches.

Teddy Morgan.
Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Aaron Shingler

Aaron Shingler, who made his rugby debut for Wales during the Autumn of 2012 had been on the books of Glamorgan CCC as a teenager. The tall youngster showed promise as a fast bowler and played for both the Glamorgan 2nd XI and England Under 19s, as well as appearing for the Cardiff MCCU side in 2004 whilst a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Aaron (seen below) subsequently became a professional rugby player with the Llanelli Scarlets.

Aaron Shingler in his Glamorgan one-day kit.
Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Wilf Wooller

Wilfred Wooller won fifteen Welsh rugby caps and was a member of the first Welsh rugby team to beat England at Twickenham in 1932/33. He also featured in the Welsh side that defeated the All Backs at the Arms Park in 1935. Acclaimed as one of the greatest all-round sportsmen that Wales has ever produced, he subsequently captained Glamorgan CCC for fourteen years, and led them to their first county title in 1948. After retiring from playing Wilf (seen below) was Glamorgan’s Secretary for thirty years and President for a further six.

Wilf Wooller, seen in 1971.
Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Click here to read more about some of the other Welsh rugby internationals who have played cricket for Glamorgan, Monmouthshire and Carmarthenshire.