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Phil Bennett

Phil Bennett
Full name Philip Bennett
Date of birth (1948-10-24) 24 October 1948
Place of birth Felinfoel, Wales
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Fly-half
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Felinfoel RFC
Llanelli RFC
Barbarian F.C.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
British Lions

Phillip Bennett OBE (born 24 October 1948) is a former Welsh international rugby union fly half from 1969 to 1978. His flair and range of tricks, including his famous sidestep and swerve, meant he was a firm favourite with crowds.


  • Rugby career 1
  • External links 2
  • Bibliography 3
  • References 4

Rugby career

Born in Felinfoel, Carmarthenshire, Bennett made his Wales debut on 22 March 1969 against France in Paris at the age of 20 when he became the first ever Welsh substitute in international rugby, replacing an injured Gerald Davies.[1] Initially, Phil played in a number of positions including fullback and centre, but settled in the fly-half position in 1972. He succeeded the legendary Barry John in that position.

Bennett's form meant that he joined the British Lions on their famous tour to South Africa in 1974, scoring 103 points. His 50-yard try against South Africa at Pretoria on that tour was a career highlight.

Even so, a place in the Wales side was not guaranteed. In 1975 he was dropped for Aberavon RFC's John Bevan and made just the one appearance for Wales as a substitute for the injured Bevan in the Murrayfield Test.

In 1976 Bevan picked up an injury and Bennett was recalled. Following the injury to the then Welsh captain Mervyn Davies, Bennett took over this role, which resulted in him becoming captain of the British Lions on the 1977 Tour. In 1977 Phil Bennett's pre-game pep talk before facing England produced a memorable, anti-English quote:

Bennett retired from international rugby union in 1978, having won a total of 29 caps. He played his club rugby at Llanelli RFC, where he played 16 seasons. He also played 20 times for the Barbarians, including the famous game against the All Blacks in January 1973. In that game he was the catalyst for the Gareth Edward's try early in the game that connoisseurs of the game still regard as the finest ever scored. Gathering a bobbling ball that had been kicked high over his head and into his own 22, Phil beat four players with his trade mark sidestep before passing to John (JPR) Williams to launch the move.

International Rugby Hall of Fame and in 2007 to the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame.

External links

  • Sporting Heroes website
  • "Phil Bennett covering...Brilliant! Ohhh...thats Brilliant.." on YouTube
  • ESPN Profile


  • Smith, David; Williams, Gareth (1980). Fields of Praise: The Official History of The Welsh Rugby Union. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.  


  1. ^ Smith (1980), pg 397.
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