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Wales and Lions legend John Dawes dies aged 80

JOHN Dawes, the legendary former Wales and Lions captain and coach, has died at the age of 80.

Dawes is the only man to have led the British and Irish Lions to a series victory in New Zealand after being skipper on the 1971 tour.

The Abercarn-born centre won 22 caps for Wales after his debut in 1964 and was captain for the Grand Slam triumph in 1971 before heading off to face the All Blacks.

Dawes became national coach and won the Five Nations title four times, two of them Grand Slams, and won four triple crowns. He coached the Lions in New Zealand in 1977.

He started his playing career in Newbridge and the Welfare Ground club paid tribute to an icon of rugby.

“After a period of ill health, John Dawes sadly passed away this morning,” they Tweeted on Friday.

“Everyone associated with our game will be aware of John’s story and his great achievements.

“His venture into senior rugby started with us here at the Welfare Ground.

“The heartfelt condolences of everyone at Newbridge RFC go out to John’s family at this very sad time.”

Dawes, who went to Lewis School Pengam, started at ‘Bridge yet it was at London Welsh where he flourished.

He became coach at Old Deer Park and developed a dashing style with the side boasting the likes of John Taylor, Mervyn Davies and JPR Williams.

Dawes was inducted into World Rugby’s hall of fame five years ago.

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