Legendary Welsh BaaBaas player dies

Barbarians logo (File)
Barbarians logo (File)

London - Welsh rugby player Haydn Mainwaring, whose two extraordinary tackles for the Barbarians helped inflict South Africa's first defeat in the northern hemisphere in more than half a century, has died aged 85.

The centre won just one cap for Wales - against France in Paris in 1961 - but enjoyed more favour with the Barbarians, appearing for them 10 times from 1957-61.

It is the February 1961 clash with the Springboks for which the former Royal Marine will be remembered.

Playing at fullback after a late call-up, he made two astonishing try-saving tackles, both of them shoulder charges, on Sprinbok captain and lock Avril Malan and wing Michael Antelme, the latter effort being described as 'he felled him like an ox'.

Mainwaring - who played most of his club rugby for Swansea - was in exalted company against South Africa when the Barbarians team included giants of the game in Tony O'Reilly, Syd Millar, Richard Sharp and Ronnie Dawson.

Two Morgans in the back row - Wales's Haydn and England's Derek - scored the tries that condemned the Boks to a 6-0 defeat.

"As a player Haydn Mainwaring was extraordinarily courageous and he will be famed forever for that tackle on the South African captain," said Barbarians' President Micky Steele-Bodger on Thursday.

"He was a very sound and versatile player, a marvellous all-round games player and such good company that people always wanted him to be part of their team. He had big heart and was great fun to be with.

"He went on to serve on the club's committee with distinction and our most sincere condolences go out to his wife Eryl and their family."

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