The 1960s and 1970s were great years for the Welsh national team with players who rank amongst the finest to wear the red jersey such as Barry John, Phil Bennett, JPR Williams, Gerald Davies, Mervyn Davies... and Gareth Edwards. Proudly, in a shopping centre in the heart of Cardiff (the Welsh enjoy their sporting heroes being within the community they have inspired), a statue was unveiled in 1982 of Gareth Edwards.
Born into a mining family near Swansea, Edwards is regarded as one of the great players in rugby union history. More importantly for the Welsh, perhaps, he was the cornerstone scrum-half of the national team that dominated the Five Nations championship in this period, winning seven titles, five Triple Crowns and two Grand Slams.
Strong, agile and quick-thinking, his service to outstanding half-backs such as Barry John and Phil Bennett was immaculate and his own strength and opportunism led to 20 international tries himself.
Playing all his club rugby for Cardiff, he won his first international cap as a 19-year old and was made captain a year later – leading to 53 caps in succession and total consistency at the top of the game for over a decade. He played 10 times for the British Lions, including in the legendary winning series away in New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa in 1975.
He retired in 1978. Virtually unknown for a player in his lifetime, a life-size sculpture (by Bonar Dunlop) was commissioned by the city council and unveiled in the centre of Cardiff in 1982 in his honour. Another immaculate pass to his half-back is about to be thrown....or will Gareth Edwards dummy and turn inside?