Ray Prosser: Pontypool coaching legend and Wales prop dies aged 93

Ray Prosser: 'A giant like no other' - Eddie Butler's tribute

Pontypool coaching legend and former Wales and British and Irish Lions prop Ray Prosser has died aged 93.

Prosser played 22 times for Wales between 1956 and 1961 and toured Australia and New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions in 1959.

He played his one and only Lions test against New Zealand which he won.

Prosser is often remembered more for his coaching of an extremely successful Pontypool side during the 1970s and 1980s.

He produced arguably one of the strongest Pontypool teams in the club's history.

Prosser helped create the legendary 'Pontypool Front Row', made up of Graham Price, Bobby Windsor and Charlie Faulkner, with the three players representing Wales on 19 occasions.

Price, who won 12 Lions caps and 41 for Wales, paid tribute to Prosser on the Radio Wales Breakfast programme.

"He is an icon of Pontypool rugby club, he put the town on the map and the town is known throughout the world because of Pontypool rugby and what he did," said prop forward Price.

"He was an amazing coach, unique at the time. He went on the '59 Lions tour to New Zealand and he became so impressed with the way they conducted themselves over there that he brought back the same methods when he became Pontypool coach.

"He had a lot of success as a coach most notably during the '80s when it was almost unprecedented success, almost continual, we were winning some silverware virtually every year, but probably knowing 'Pross' his most satisfying success was when he lifted Pontypool off the bottom back in the very early '70s."

Other legendary Pontypool players that played under Prosser included Terry Cobner, Jeff Squire and Eddie Butler, with this trio all becoming Wales captains and Lions players, and star scrum-half David Bishop.

The no-nonsense Prosser was a coach ahead of his time with his emphasis on fitness.

He coached the Pontypool first team between 1969 and 1987, during which they were unofficial Welsh club champions on five occasions including a hat-trick of titles between 1983 and 1986 and the WRU National Cup in 1983. Pontypool also won the old Merit Table on seven occasions.

A Pontypool RFC club statement said: "Without question, Ray will be forever regarded as the most influential figure in Pontypool RFC history.

"Our immediate thoughts are with Ray's family during this exceptionally sad time."

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