William David Phillips

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William Phillips
Birth nameWilliam David Phillips
Date of birth(1855-08-16)16 August 1855
Place of birthCardiff, Wales
Date of death15 October 1918(1918-10-15) (aged 63)
Place of deathCardiff, Wales
SchoolBridgend School
Rugby union career
Position(s) Forward
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1876-1895 Cardiff RFC 109 ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1881-1884 Wales[1] 5 (0)

William David Phillips (16 August 1855 – 15 October 1918) was a Welsh international rugby union forward who played club rugby for Cardiff Rugby Football Club and international rugby for Wales. He won five caps for Wales and would later become a central figure in the early history of the Welsh Rugby Union.

Rugby career[edit]

Phillips came to note as a rugby player while playing for first class club Cardiff and in the 1879/80 season he was elected as club captain for the first team. Phillips would keep the captaincy for three seasons in total, the first player to regain the captaincy in the club's history.[2] In 1881, Phillips was selected to play for the first representative Welsh international team, in a game against England. Phillips was one of four Cardiff players in the first match, along with B. B. Mann, Barry Girling and Leonard Watkins. The Welsh team were humiliated when the English scored 13 tries without reply, and the press attacked the Welsh Union secretary Richard Mullock for choosing a 'private' team of friends and elitists rather than the best players available.[3] Phillips himself was a strong supporter of Mulloch, and when Mulloch was challenged in his position as secretary, it was Phillips, along with Horace Lyne, who voiced their opinion strongest in his support.[4]

Despite the heavy defeat, Phillips was re-selected to play for Wales in the next game against Ireland, one of only four players to hold their place. Under the captaincy of Charles Lewis, Wales beat the Irish by two goals and two tries to nil. Despite the win, Phillips would miss the next two Wales games, but was back in the squad for all three of the matches in the 1884 Home Nations Championship. Wales lost two and won one of the games, the victory was again against Ireland and was Phillips last international game.

Phillips continued his close connection with Welsh rugby, when in 1887 he was chosen to referee the Home Nations match between Ireland and England.[5] His second and final international match he would officiate was the 1889 Championship game between Ireland and Scotland in Belfast. In 1892, after his international career had come to an end; Phillips was chosen as one of four vice-presidents of the WRU, representing the East Wales region along with Horace Lyne. From 1887 until 1907, Phillips was one of the Welsh representatives on the International Rugby Board.[6]

International matches played[edit]



  • Smith, David; Williams, Gareth (1980). Fields of Praise: The Official History of The Welsh Rugby Union. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-0766-3.
  • Jenkins, John M.; et al. (1991). Who's Who of Welsh International Rugby Players. Wrexham: Bridge Books. ISBN 1-872424-10-4.


  1. ^ Welsh Rugby Union player profiles
  2. ^ Marshall, Francis Football; the Rugby union game (1892) Cassell and company Ltd. pg 265
  3. ^ a b Smith (1980), pg 470.
  4. ^ Smith (1980), pg 52.
  5. ^ Welsh international referee roll of honour
  6. ^ Jenkins (1991), pg 127.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
R.H. Fox
Cardiff RFC Captain
Succeeded by
Barry Girling
Preceded by
Barry Girling
Cardiff RFC Captain
Succeeded by
H.J. Simpson