The Gwilliam Seasons
Last updated: 17.12.19
Printed: 2002 Author: David Parry-Jones
Publisher: Seren Books ISBN: 1854113275
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John Gwilliam and the Second Golden Era of Welsh Rugby
Paperback, 230 pages, (ies)
Amazon Review
In the late forties and early fifties the Welsh rugby team was virtually unbeatable, indeed the 1953 Wales side was the last to beat New Zealand. The teams of that period included some of the all time greats: Cliff Morgan, Bleddyn Williams, Lewis Jones, Ken Jones. If the backs were outstanding, they were aided by a pack of great rigour and technique which provided a steady supply of quality ball and was destructive in defence. The team was led by John Gwilliam, the No. 8 (sometimes second row), a name perhaps overshadowed by the glamorous threequarters but a captain whose stamp the side bore indelibly. Gwilliam remains something of an enigma: he left Wales to serve in the army during the Second World War and took teaching posts in Scotland and England during his working life. Consequently he never played in Wales, was not part of the close Welsh rugby scene of inter-club rivalry and politicking. As captain it was a distance he maintained through his army officer and headmaster background. As a player he was an athletic and technically gifted forward, but also a deep thinker about the game who liked to produce the unexpected; his was an early contribution to the idea of 15 man rubgy. With his customary attention to the period David Parry-Jones has produced an enthralling biography of the man and survey of one of the great periods in Welsh rugby history, in the manner of his successful survey of the first golden era, Prince Gwyn, which was longlisted for the William Hill Prize and was Rugby Book of the Year in 2000. The Gwilliam Seasons is illustrated by 30 black and white photographs from the period.