Dr Jack Matthews: Tributes to Wales and Lions rugby legend
Tributes have been paid to the former Wales and Lions rugby international Dr Jack Matthews, who has died at the age of 92.
Huw Davies, a family friend, called him an "amazing all-round package".
The player - who was widely known as Dr Jack - was made an OBE in 2001, played 17 times for Wales and skippered the side against France in Paris in 1951.
He was part of a legendary Welsh midfield partnership alongside Bleddyn Williams.
The former Newport and Cardiff star was also a doctor on the 1980 Lions tour of South Africa.
Mr Davies, the coach at the Cardiff Medicals' Rugby Club, said: "He was a formidable presence right up until his late 80s, he was such a strong man, such a strong personality," he said.
"We were obviously very proud to have Dr Jack as one of our own."
Mr Davies said the club was very fortunate that Dr Matthews and his team-mate Bleddyn Williams often attended club functions.
"They were a great double act," he said.
"It was inspirational, really, for the modern students to sit in the company of two of our really, truly great players."
End Quote Dennis Gethin WRU President
Sadly, won't see their like again. Not only was Jack revered in Wales, but in world rugby”
Sports journalist Peter Jackson told BBC Wales: "Jack was an avid newspaper reader and would ring up and we would have discussions about the match that had just taken place.'Wonderful education'
"It was a wonderful education for me and I got to know him fairly well."
Mr Jackson said it was fascinating to discover that he fought world heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano - "the greatest slugger in the history of boxing".
"I stumbled across this when I went to see him to do some research for a book. I knew that he was involved in boxing - he had been a medical adviser for the Welsh area for the British Board of Boxing Control," he said.
Marciano was stationed with the US Army in RAF St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan, in March 1943.
Dr Matthews was there, too, as a member of Royal Army Medical Corp and the pair fought three rounds.
"I said, 'What happened?' And he said, well, there were no knock-downs and I was still there at the end of three rounds and he said in those days it was boxing for the fun of it and if you were both there standing on your feet it was given as a draw," Mr Jackson said.
Dr Matthews later told Mr Jackson if he had known who Marciano was to become, he would have been "slightly more apprehensive".
The president of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), Dennis Gethin, said Matthews was "an absolutely fabulous character".
"It was a privilege and honour to have known him so well," he said.
"And to be in his company, and Bleddyn Williams, talking about old times.
"Sadly, won't see their like again. Not only was Jack revered in Wales, but in world rugby."