Billy Williams (rugby, born 1905)

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For other sportsmen of the same name, see Billy Williams (disambiguation) and William Williams (disambiguation).
For other sportsmen of the same name, see Billy Williams (disambiguation) and William Williams (disambiguation).
Billy Williams
Full name William Arthur Williams
Date of birth 29 December 1905
Place of birth Crumlin, Monmouthshire, Wales
Date of death 4 November 1973 (aged 67)
Place of death Manchester, Lancashire, England
Occupation(s) collier
Rugby league career
Position(s) Prop, Second-row
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1927–1938 Salford 425 (42)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Great Britain
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Cross Keys RFC
Crumlin RFC
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1927 Wales 4 ((0))

William Arthur "Billy" Williams (29 December 1905 – 4 November 1973)[1] born in Crumlin, Monmouthshire, was a Welsh dual-code international rugby union and professional rugby league footballer of the 1920s, and 1930s, playing representative level rugby union (RU) for Wales rugby union, and at club level for Crumlin and Cross Keys as a Flanker, and playing representative level rugby league (RL) for Great Britain rugby league, and Wales rugby league, and at club level for Salford (Captain), as a Prop, or Second-row, i.e. number 8 or 10, or, 11 or 12, during the era of contested scrums,[2] he died in Manchester.

Rugby career[edit]

Williams first came to note as a rugby player when he represented rugby union team Cross Keys. By the time he was selected for international duty, he was playing for unfashionable lower league team Crumlin. The fact that Williams was, and still is, the only player to be selected for international duty directly from the club is an indicator to the talent he showed as a flanker. Williams played in four union internationals, all of them part of the 1927 Five Nations Championship. His first encounter was against England played away at Twickenham. The game ended with a 9-11 loss, and despite the result Williams was reselected for the next three games. Wales ended the Championship with just one win, a home match against France. It is unknown if Williams would have been selected the next season as in 1927 he switched to professional league club Salford. By switching to a professional club, Williams was not only banned from playing union again for life, but also had his union international cap withheld.

Williams played his first league game for Salford on 15 October 1927, and won three Championship and one Challenge Cup winners medals with the club over his career. On 15 January 1930, Williams was selected for the Great Britain team, to face a touring Australia side.[3] Just three days later he won his first Wales league cap, in a match against the same touring Australians at Wembley. He won two more caps for Wales, a 1932 encounter with England and a 1933 match against Australia. In-between his Welsh caps, Williams also toured Australia with Great Britain in 1932. He played in 15 games of the tour and one Test against Australia.

Williams died in Manchester in 1973; in 1975 his Wales rugby union cap was awarded to him posthumously under an 'amnesty'.

Les Diables Rouges[edit]

Billy Williams was one of the players who successfully toured in France with Salford in 1934, during which the Salford team earned the name "Les Diables Rouges", the seventeen players were; Joe Bradbury, Bob Brown, Aubrey Casewell, Paddy Dalton, Bert Day, Cliff Evans, Jack Feetham, George Harris, Barney Hudson, Emlyn Jenkins, Alf Middleton, Sammy Miller, Harold Osbaldestin, Les Pearson, Gus Risman, Billy Watkins and Billy Williams.[4]

Challenge Cup Final appearances[edit]

Billy Watkins played Left-Prop, i.e. number 8, in Salford's 7-4 victory over Barrow in the 1938 Challenge Cup Final during the 1937–38 season at Wembley Stadium, London, in front of a crowd of 51,243.

County Cup Final appearances[edit]

About Billy Williams' time, there was Salford's 2-15 defeat by Warrington in the 1929 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1929–30 season at Central Park, Wigan on Saturday 23 November 1929, the 10-8 victory over Swinton in the 1931 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1931–32 season at the Cliff, Broughton, Salford on Saturday 21 November 1931, the 21-12 victory over Wigan in the 1934 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1934–35 season at Station Road, Swinton on Saturday 20 October 1934, the 15-7 victory over Wigan in the 1935 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1935–36 season at Wilderspool, Warrington on Saturday 19 October 1935, the 5-2 victory over Wigan in the 1936 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1936–37 season at Wilderspool, Warrington on Saturday 17 October 1936.


  1. ^ Billy Williams rugby union player profile
  2. ^ Williams, Graham; Lush, Peter; Farrar, David (2009). The British Rugby League Records Book. London League. pp. 108–114. ISBN 978-1-903659-49-6. 
  3. ^ "Statistics at". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "The story of The Original Red Devils". 31 December 2011. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 


  • Gate, Robert (1986). Gone North: Volume 1. Ripponden: R.E. Gate. ISBN 0-9511190-0-1. 
  • Jenkins, John M.; et al. (1991). Who's Who of Welsh International Rugby Players. Wrexham: Bridge Books. ISBN 1-872424-10-4. 

External links[edit]