Mervyn Davies

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Mervyn Davies
Mervyn Davies in Wales strip.jpg
Birth nameThomas Mervyn Davies
Date of birth(1946-12-09)9 December 1946
Place of birth Swansea, Wales
Date of death15 March 2012(2012-03-15) (aged 65)
Height1.95 m (6 ft 5 in) [1]
Weight108 kg (17 st 0 lb)
SchoolPenlan County School
Rugby union career
Position(s) Number eight
Amateur team(s)
London Welsh RFC
Swansea RFC
Barbarian F.C.
National team(s)
British Lions

Thomas Mervyn Davies OBE (9 December 1946 – 15 March 2012), [2] [3] often known as "Merv the Swerve", was a Welsh rugby union player who won 38 caps for Wales as a No. 8.

Welsh people nation and ethnic group native to Wales

The Welsh are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to, or otherwise associated with, Wales, Welsh culture, Welsh history and the Welsh language. Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living in Wales are British citizens.

Rugby union team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby union, commonly known in most of the world simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts on each try line.

Wales national rugby union team Nation rugby team from Wales

The Wales national rugby union team competes annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, France, Ireland, Italy and Scotland. Wales have won the Six Nations and its predecessors 26 times outright. Wales' most recent championship win came in 2013.


Early life

Davies was born in Swansea, where he attended Penlan County School. Davies joined London Welsh in 1968, later moving to Swansea.

Swansea City & County in Wales

Swansea, is a coastal city and county, officially known as the City and County of Swansea in Wales. Swansea lies within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan and the ancient Welsh commote of Gŵyr on the southwest coast. The county area includes Swansea Bay and the Gower Peninsula. Swansea is the second largest city in Wales and the twenty-fifth largest city in the United Kingdom. According to its local council, the City and County of Swansea had a population of 241,300 in 2014. The last official census stated that the city, metropolitan and urban areas combined concluded to be a total of 462,000 in 2011; the second most populous local authority area in Wales after Cardiff.

London Welsh RFC rugby union team

London Welsh Rugby Football Club is a professional rugby union club formed in 1885. Based in Old Deer Park, Richmond-upon-Thames, London Welsh RFC played in the English Premiership in the 2012–13 and 2014–15 seasons, after gaining promotion from the RFU Championship in the 2012 and 2014 play-off final. The club returned to Old Deer Park in 2015 after three seasons at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford.

Swansea RFC Welsh rugby union team

Swansea Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union team which plays in the Welsh Premiership. Its home ground is St Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground in Swansea. The team is also known as The Whites because of the primary colour of the team strip. The club is a feeder club to the Ospreys.

Wales rugby

He won his first cap for Wales in 1969 against Scotland, going on to play 38 consecutive matches for Wales and scoring two tries. During this period Wales won two Grand Slams and three Triple Crowns. He went on the British and Irish Lions tours to New Zealand in 1971 and to South Africa in 1974, playing in eight tests. In a total of 46 international appearances for Wales and the Lions he only ended on the losing side nine times.

Scotland national rugby union team

The Scotland national rugby union team is administered by the Scottish Rugby Union. The team takes part in the annual Six Nations Championship and participates in the Rugby World Cup, which takes place every four years. As of 19 November 2018, Scotland are 7th in the World Rugby Rankings.

In rugby union, the Triple Crown is an honour contested annually by the "Home Nations" – i.e. England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales who compete within the larger Six Nations Championship. If any one of these teams defeats all three other teams, they win the Triple Crown.

British and Irish Lions rugby union team

The British & Irish Lions is a rugby union team selected from players eligible for any of the Home Nations – the national teams of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The Lions are a Test side, and generally select international players, but they can pick uncapped players available to any one of the four unions. The team currently tours every four years, with these rotating among Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The 2009 Test series was lost 1–2 to South Africa, while the 2013 Test series was won 2–1 over Australia. The most recent series, the 2017 series against New Zealand, was drawn 1-1.

Tall and slight of frame, he grew a Mexican moustache to make himself appear more aggressive on the rugby field. He was nicknamed "Merv the Swerve" and is considered to be the greatest Number 8 that Wales has ever produced and one of its greatest at any position. [4]


His career was ended by a subarachnoid hemorrhage suffered when captaining Swansea against Pontypool in 1976. He had collapsed during a game on another occasion, four years earlier, and had been wrongly diagnosed with meningitis. [5] Following the second incident he was a patient in the University Hospital of Wales for several months, and received goodwill messages from all over the world.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage bleeding into the subarachnoid space

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is bleeding into the subarachnoid space—the area between the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater surrounding the brain. Symptoms may include a severe headache of rapid onset, vomiting, decreased level of consciousness, fever, and sometimes seizures. Neck stiffness or neck pain are also relatively common. In about a quarter of people a small bleed with resolving symptoms occurs within a month of a larger bleed.

Pontypool RFC sports club

Pontypool Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union team based in the town of Pontypool. They play in the WRU Championship and due to the regionalisation of Welsh rugby in 2003 Pontypool RFC is now a feeder club to The Dragons regional team. Pontypool play their home matches at Pontypool Park. Their traditional home kit is Red, White and Black hooped shirt and socks with white shorts, although they did gradually shift to wearing black shorts post-2003.

Meningitis inflammation of membranes around the brain and spinal cord

Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges. The most common symptoms are fever, headache, and neck stiffness. Other symptoms include confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light or loud noises. Young children often exhibit only nonspecific symptoms, such as irritability, drowsiness, or poor feeding. If a rash is present, it may indicate a particular cause of meningitis; for instance, meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria may be accompanied by a characteristic rash.

In a poll of Welsh rugby fans in 2002, Davies was voted both Greatest Ever Welsh Captain and Greatest Ever Welsh Number 8. In 2001 he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame. [4]

The International Rugby Hall of Fame (IRHOF) was a hall of fame for rugby union. It was created in 1997 in New Zealand and is run as a charitable trust with an address at Chiswick in London. Most of the trustees are also inductees. IRHOF accepted new inductees every two years until 2007. Most inductees are former players, but others who have contributed to the game are eligible. In 2014 it was integrated into the then–IRB Hall of Fame, which then was renamed the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

He was a smoker and was diagnosed with lung cancer (adenocarcinoma) in November 2011. He died 4 months later.

Davies had a son and daughter by his first wife Shirley; the marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his second wife Jeni and his three stepchildren, and by his two children from his first marriage. [3]


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  1. "Mervyn Davies". Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  2. Mervyn Davies international rugby profile
  3. 1 2 "Telegraph obituary". 16 March 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  4. 1 2 "BBC Sport - Wales legend Mervyn Davies dies after losing fight against cancer". 16 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  5. Independent Sports [ permanent dead link ]