Tributes to Davies

Last Updated: 16/03/12 12:56pm

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Mervyn Davies: A legendary figure in the rugby world

Mervyn Davies: A legendary figure in the rugby world

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The world of rugby remembers Merv the Swerve

The tributes have been pouring in after former Wales skipper Mervyn Davies lost his long battle against cancer aged 65.

Ex-London Welsh and Swansea number eight Davies won 38 caps and toured with the British and Irish Lions to New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa three years later, featuring in eight Tests.

Known throughout the rugby world as 'Merv the Swerve', he suffered a brain haemorrhage playing for Swansea against Pontypool in a Welsh Cup semi-final in 1976 that cut short his career.

Former Wales and Lions international Phil Bennett

"I was captain of the 1977 Lions that went out to New Zealand. Mervyn Davies suffered a brain haemorrhage in 1976 playing (for Swansea) against Pontypool in Cardiff in the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup. Without doubt he'd have been skipper of that '77 tour and thoroughly would have deserved it. That's the fate life plays on you at times. To lose him so tragically is absolutely devastating."

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley

"It's a sad day for Welsh rugby. The players, the management, we all send our sincere condolences to the family. Unfortunately I never played with him, but from what I'm told he was a colossus. To only lose nine games as a player for Wales, the amount of caps, to play eight Tests for the Lions, he's an icon of world rugby. We can speak frequently of world-class players, but icon and legend belongs to Merv the Swerve.

Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones

"Sometimes the word legend is overused, but when it comes to Mervyn Davies it was true. He was a giant of the game who led Wales to the 1976 Grand Slam of what was then the Five Nations. His record playing for his nation speaks for itself - two Grand Slams and three Triple Crowns. A true great Welshman, Mervyn was arguably the best number eight we have ever seen and will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."

WRU president Dennis Gethin

"We have lost a great player, a wonderful ambassador for the game and a true gentlemen."

WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis

"We have lost a true great of our game with the sad death of Mervyn Davies. His loss will be felt across the rugby world because of the huge impact he had as an icon of the game."

Ospreys managing director and former team-mate Roger Blyth

"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."

London Welsh managing director and former team-mate John Taylor

"His record speaks for itself and the legend will rightly live on but to those of us who counted him as a close friend he was much, much more than a great rugby player. This is one of the saddest days of my life - I've lost a brother."

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