Welsh legend awarded MBE
Sun, 30 Dec 2012 11:17
I thought maybe my chance had gone
Former Llanelli, Wales and British and Irish Lions wing JJ Williams has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list for his services in rugby and charity.
The honour caps a great year for the Williams family as his son Rhys struck gold in the 400 hurdles at the European Championships and also represented Team GB at the London Olympics
The 64-year-old Williams won two Grand Slams during his 30-cap career with Wales between 1973 and 1979 and scored 12 tries.
He went on two Lions tours, playing in all four Tests in South Africa in 1974 and in three more internationals in New Zealand in 1977.
He scored a record-equalling four tries in a series for the Lions in 1974 (3-1-0) and also notched a record six tries in a match for the Lions against South Western Districts in 1974. In all, he played 26 games for the Lions, winning 23, drawing one and scoring 22 tries.
The other major highlight of his rugby career was being in the Llanelli side that beat the 1972 All Blacks 9-3 at Stradey Park.
"Receiving the MBE is right up there with all the things I achieved during my playing career. It is very special and I was tremendously excited when I found out I would receive the honour," admitted Williams.
"A lot of the players I played with in the 1970s received honours at the time and I thought maybe my chance had gone.
“But to have received this honour later in my life means I will cherish it that little bit more and it is very, very special for me and my family."
One of the founders of the Welsh Rugby International Players Benevolent Association, which offers assistance to players who have struggled after their playing careers finished, Williams has helped to raise tens of thousands of pounds for the organisation.
"I am particularly pleased that the charity work I have done is also a part of this, and I hope it has played a big part in it because it is something that is very important to me.
“The setting up of the Welsh Rugby International Players Benevolent Association has helped a lot of players who have suffered illness or injury in later life," added Williams.
"It's help that was needed as it was an amateur game when they played. I enjoy my charity work, I was fortunate to be given a good life through sport and I think it is right to give something back."
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