John Bevan (rugby union)

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For other people with the same name, see John Bevan (disambiguation).
Personal information
Date of birth 12 March 1948
Date of death 5 June 1986

John David Bevan (12 March 1948–5 June 1986) was a Welsh international Rugby Union player, one of two John Bevans who played for Wales during the 1970s.

Bevan was born in Neath. He played for Aberavon RFC, the British Lions and The Barbarians.

Bevan formed a formidable club half back partnership with Clive Shell. He was a player who was able to get the most out of players playing outside of him due to his natural ability. During his playing career he rivalled Phil Bennett for the Welsh No 10 position. Bennett originally held the place but the club performances of Bevan put him in the ascendancy during the 1974-5 season.

A fly half, capped four times for Wales, he won his first cap against France in Paris in January 1975, following a sound performance playing for The Barbarians in the drawn game (12-12) against the touring All Blacks at Twickenham the previous month. During the Paris test, he was one of five Welsh players making their debut (Trevor Evans, Graham Price, Ray Gravell and Steve Fenwick being the others. Wales won for the first time in Paris for many years by 25–12pts with Bevan producing a remarkable try saving tackle.

England were the next opponents for the unchanged Welsh and were hammered 20–4 at Cardiff Arms Park. Next up were Scotland at Murrayfield where Bevan sustained a dislocated shoulder. He was replaced by Bennett and Wales lost the match 12–10. Bevan’s season was over.

In the 1975-6 season Bevan won his place back and was selected to face the touring Wallabies in Cardiff. His ability to make space for others resulted in Wales winning the fixture 28-3. JJ Williams, scoring three tries.

Bevan was picked for the first Four Nations international against England, with the young David Richards on the bench, remarkably at the expense of Bennett who was omitted from the squad. In a twist of fate, both Bevan and Richards obtained injuries and Bennett was recalled. Wales beat England and went on to win the Grand Slam. Bevan never played for his country again.

Bevan, a schoolteacher at Dyffryn Comprehensive at Port Talbot toured New Zealand with the British Lions on their 1977 tour but did not play in any of the internationals against the All Blacks, although, due to a dip in form of the tour captain Phil Bennett, many thought he should have been picked for the final test.[citation needed] Bevan was one of three Aberavon players to make the 1977 tour, Allan Martin lock and Clive Williams prop being the others.

After his playing career was cut short by his shoulder injury, he coached Aberavon RFC and then the Wales national side from 1982 to 1985. He was forced to retire on the grounds of ill health.

Bevan was also a fine cricketer, an opening batsmen he played for and captained Neath Cricket Club and represented his country.

He died of cancer aged thirty-eight in 1986, survived by his wife Judith, a son and a daughter.


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