Barbarians pay tribute to Club legend Phil "Benny" Bennett


Tributes have poured in from around the world following the news former Barbarian, Wales and British and Irish Lions fly-half Phil Bennett has passed away aged 73. 

Widely regarded as one of the best players to represent Wales, Phil played 29 Tests for his country between 1969 and 1978, winning two Five Nations Grand Slams and two Triple Crowns. 

He featured in the Lions’ history-making unbeaten tour of South Africa in 1974 and made 20 appearances for the Barbarians with trademark flair and skill. One of his standout moments was making the starting play that led to Gareth Edwards’ incredible try against the All Blacks in 1973, which is still referred to as “that try” in the rugby world. You can watch his recollections of the moment here

His senior debut at the age of 18 came for Llanelli RFC, with which he went onto make 413 appearances before his last game for the club in 1981. He captained the side for six years during his 15-year stint. 

Phil was made an OBE in 1979 after retiring and inducted to the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2005.

After retiring, Bennett became an OBE in 1979 and was inducted to the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2005.

Barbarian F.C. Committee Member and former Wales and British and Irish Lions fly-half Gareth Davies remembers this of Phil: 

“I lived and grew up in Tumble, a village five miles or so from Phil’s home in Felinfoel. As a young schoolboy supporter of Llanelli, I was hugely excited when the 18-year-old Phil Bennett arrived at Stradey Park to succeed Barry John as the Scarlet’s No 10.

“Little did I know that I would eventually take over the Wales no10 from Phil in 1978. He was one of the greats of our game and he was so supportive of me stepping into his talented boots.

“A great player - and a great man. RIP Benny”

A lifelong supporter of his hometown club Felinfoel RFC, a statue of Phil was unveiled in the village in April this year.

Barbarian’s President John Spencer said: “The rugby world will feel keenly the loss of Phil Bennett. He was a true icon of our sport and a loyal club man, for Llanelli, for Scarlets, for his country, the Lions and of course the Barbarians. 

“On behalf of all the Barbarians across the world, we would like to extend our wholehearted condolences to Phil’s wife Pat and all of Phil’s family and friends. We have lost one of the greatest Barbarians but Benny’s memory will always be in our hearts.”

Scarlets executive chairman Simon Muderack said: “As a club, region and community, we are devastated by this news.”

Bennett’s former club captain and Wales and Lions teammate Delme Thomas added: “He was the best fly-half I have ever seen on a rugby field.”

The Welsh Rugby Union said on Twitter: “Such sad news from Llanelli this evening with the passing of Phil Bennett, a Welsh rugby legend in every sense and true gentleman. Our deepest condolences to Phil’s wife Pat, their family and his many, many friends. Rest in peace Benny.”