Former Wales and Llanelli captain Onllwyn Brace dies

Onllwyn Brace

Former Wales captain Onllwyn Brace has died, aged 80.

Brace led Wales twice in 1960 and 1961, winning both matches against Ireland, and represented his country nine times.

The diminutive scrum-half, born in Pontarddulais, made his Wales debut in 1956 in an 8-3 win over England at Twickenham.

Having played for Aberavon and Newport, Brace ended his club career at Llanelli, where he was captain for the 1958-59 and 1960-61 seasons.

The Cardiff and Oxford University graduate enjoyed a distinguished career in broadcasting, and succeeded former Wales and British and Irish Lions captain Cliff Morgan as head of sport at BBC Wales.

Morgan was Brace's half-back partner for Wales when he made his international debut.

BBC Cymru Wales Director Rhodri Talfan Davies paid tribute to Brace.

"As Head of Sport at BBC Cymru Wales during the 1970s and 1980s, Onllwyn played a leading role in shaping our sports coverage at a time of major advances in live broadcasting," he said.

"He's warmly recalled as a hard working and innovative leader, setting the highest standards, and much loved by his colleagues.

"He took change in his stride - leading from the front and inspiring his colleagues, just as he had done on the playing field."

Former Wales and Cardiff fly-half Gareth Davies also paid tribute to the man he succeeded as head of sport at BBC Wales in 1989.

"Onllwyn was a very dynamic and a very clever individual both in his playing days and following that," Davies said.

"He was very instrumental in my career. He was the one who suggested that I applied to do my post-graduate course at Oxford University where he went.

"From a working point of view I took over from Onllwyn as the head of sport for BBC Wales. Those situations can be difficult but he was always there ready to offer advice.

"He was passionate about rugby and passionate about broadcasting in Wales as well."