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Jack Matthews dies aged 92

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Jack Matthews dies aged 92 Empty Jack Matthews dies aged 92

Post by maestegmafia Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:53 pm

Very sad to see one of my childhood heros pass away. This guy was exceptional, an absolute legend for Cardiff, Wales and the Lions with his club mates Cliff Morgan and Bleddyn Williams.



The BBC said:

Former Wales and Lions centre Dr Jack Matthews has died aged 92.

Matthews was part of a legendary Welsh midfield partnership alongside Bleddyn Williams.

Ex-Newport and Cardiff star Matthews was also a doctor on the 1980 Lions tour of South Africa.

Matthews, who was made an OBE in 2001, played 17 times for Wales and skippered the side against France in Paris in 1951. He was also captain of Cardiff for four seasons.

He played six test matches for the Lions on the 1950 tour of Australia and New Zealand, earning the nick-name "Iron Man" for his crash tackling.

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Post by sugarNspikes Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:58 pm


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Post by LordDowlais Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:58 am

I was going to put a thread about this this morning but I decided to wait for somebody else to do it. He was known as the iron man of Welsh rugby for his no nonsence tackling. He actually had a boxing match with Rocky Marciano and drew with him. Part of the golden centre partnership with prince of centres Bleddyn Williams. They are in the heavens first 15 now. RIP.

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Post by maestegmafia Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:23 am

Still one I the greatest centre partnerships to play the game.

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Post by maestegmafia Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:38 am

Born in Bridgend in 1920, Matthews attended Bridgend County School before moving to the University College Cardiff where he studied to become a doctor.

During an interview in 2008 he said he had delivered, “at least 7,500 babies, many during home visits in the middle of the night before a game” during his 50 years as a GP in Cardiff.

As respected for his skills as a doctor as he was for his rugby, he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the war.

“He was a great friend of my father’s, they went to medical school together and my father used to play outside of Jack on the wing,” recalled Wales and Lions great JPR Williams, another who combined rugby with life as a GP.

“We used to call him ‘uncle Jack’ and he gave me my first ever rugby ball, I remember it being a heavy leather one.

“He was a bit before my time as a player but my father would speak about him and he was renowned as a hard tackler.

“Jack was also an excellent boxer and no-one goes three rounds with Rocky Marciano without being tough as nails.

“He will go down in folklore as one of Wales’ all-time rugby greats.”

It was during his time with the Royal Army Medical Corps that 19-year-old Matthews went toe-to-toe with Marciano, the legendary heavyweight world champion who remained undefeated throughout his career.

Marciano was stationed with the US Army in RAF St Athan, in the Vale of Glamorgan, and after three competitive rounds the fight was declared a draw.

But it was on the rugby pitch where Matthews was at his best as part of the dream centre pairing alongside the late Bleddyn Williams.

Despite having his career badly effected by the Second World War, Matthews and Williams helped Cardiff to dominate Welsh rugby in the 50s, with Dr Jack captaining the side for four seasons.

Matthews once recalled: “We had a great post-war side with Cardiff. Our home gate was 35,000, that was the average. Cardiff soccer were in the first division then and we were getting more than them.

“Bleddyn and I had been playing together since 1938 and we’ve been friends ever since.”

Until just four years ago the pair spoke every day and would continue to meet once a week for lunch to discuss rugby.

“Everybody knows how tough he was, but I played countless games with him and he was a beautiful passer, bloody quick, and a magnificent captain. He made Cardiff the side they were,” said Williams in an interview shortly before his death in 2009.

They had continued their devastating club partnership on the Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia in 1950.

Matthews played all six Tests against the All Blacks and Wallabies and it was the New Zealand public who christened him “Iron Man” for his whole-hearted tackling against the home side.

His association with the Lions did not end with his retirement as a player and in 1980 he was named the Lions’s first official doctor for the tour to South Africa.

“There were a tremendous amount of injuries and there weren’t many games where we had 15 men on the field. It was hard work,” said Matthews years later.

Former Cardiff, Wales and Lions outside-half Gareth Davies was part of the Lions touring side who went to South Africa, he remembers ‘Dr Jack’ with great fondness.

Davies said: “We were glad to have Dr Jack there so we could send Ray Gravell to him. Ray was the biggest hypochondriac in the team so he would be off to see Dr Jack all the time.

“But we certainly kept Dr Jack busy on that tour and a lot of the injuries were fairly serious ones.

“I knew him pretty well from my time at Cardiff because he was part of the furniture there, which was great for me when I joined the club at 18.

“He was always there to give us advice, or a ticking off when we’d done something wrong, and he was a very social character.

“One measurement of how good someone was is often that they are called by their first names and if you say Dr Jack and Bleddyn to any Welsh rugby fan they know instantly who you are talking about.”

In 1981 Matthews was given an OBE in the Queen’s Honours Birthday List and he continued his connection to boxing by becoming a medical adviser to the Welsh Boxing Association.

And in 2006, Matthews followed in his friend Williams’ footsteps and was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame Roll of Honour.

He suffered a stroke in 2009 which left him unable to speak and he is believed to have spent his last few years living in a care home in the Porthcawl area.

His wife Valerie died in 1996. The couple had two sons, Peter and Robin.

A service of thanksgiving for the life of Dr Jack Matthews will take place at Llandaff Cathedral on Friday July 27 at 12 noon. All members of the public are welcome.



Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/rugbynation/rugby-news/2012/07/20/dr-jack-matthews-a-straight-talking-legend-with-a-great-love-of-rugby-91466-31431785/#ixzz217B6vvLL

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Post by Guest Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:58 am

Dr Jack Matthews was my GP growing up as a boy in Canton, Cardiff. Aged 7 or 8, I could never understand why the doctor always looked as though he had been in an accident - sticking plaster, etc!

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Post by maestegmafia Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:37 pm

Ha ha ha...!

Great.

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