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Glyndŵr Pub






648 pages Glyndŵr paperback illustrated November 2022

The unique story of eight brothers who played rugby for Cardiff, when it was known as ‘the greatest club in the world’. The author was lucky to see the youngest four Williams brothers play many times, sometimes in the same team. The brothers played 1,480 times for Cardiff, from 1933 to 1974, with the careers of the three eldest being affected by service in WWII and of the next three by two years of National Service. Lloyd Williams captained Cardiff and Wales, and Bleddyn Williams captained Cardiff and Wales to inflict the only two defeats on the 1953 All Blacks tour of Britain. Eight brothers and four sisters grew up in a rented, 2.5-bedroom house in the tiny village of Taff’s Well, just north of Cardiff, with their father a coal tipper down Cardiff Docks, unemployed for 6 years before war broke out. All the boys played for their village club, and the book covers both rugby clubs from their nineteenth century foundation until the 1970s. Playing with the eldest boys for Cardiff were their Taff’s Well uncle, Roy Roberts MM, a war hero, and their cousin Bill Tamplin, another Cardiff and Wales captain. The book uncovers some heroic characters and games from the past ‘If eight brothers played for the best team in the world in any major nation, they would not be forgotten. Thankfully, this well-researched book does them justice.’

‘Do you want to know why for almost a century Cardiff was considered ‘the greatest’ rugby club in the world? Or that during this period, from the years 1934-35 to 1973-74, in every season, at least one of eight brothers from Taff’s Well played for Cardiff? And that the most famous, Bleddyn Williams, captained Cardiff and Wales, to the only two losses by the All Blacks in their 1953 British tour? Or that brother Lloyd and cousin Bill Tamplin also captained Cardiff and Wales? And that their uncle from the same village, Roy Roberts MM, played for Cardiff before and after the war with the eldest Williams brothers? This is the story both of their first rugby club, Taff’s Well, and of Cardiff RFC, and of an astonishing achievement, not replicable in any team sport, of eight great rugby players whose careers were blighted by war and National Service. Despite this, they played 1,480 times for Cardiff - in all of sporting history, no other family has EVER COME CLOSE to the careers of the Williams brothers.’

About the author:
Terry Breverton was fortunate to see the youngest four brothers play for Cardiff many times, sometimes all together. A practitioner of ‘the Art of Coarse Rugby’, until aged 40, he still misses what passed for playing. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, of the Institute of Consulting and of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, he has written over 60 books, been translated into many languages, and has been awarded Book of the Month five times by the Books Council of Wales. He remarks that ‘this is a social history as much as a rugby book – born in 1946, I can identify with the era of the eight brothers and their four sisters, when rugby was amateur and a much better game to play and watch. I enjoyed writing this book more than any other – which is why it covers the birth of both clubs and their paths from the nineteenth century until the mid-70s. There are some truly superb characters, players and games to discover along the way. And one can only hope that someone in authority will read it and realise that the present game has become overly brutal, generally boring and unattractive for its declining number of spectators.’

Reviewers on Amazon:

David Mathews ‘To rugby, love Terry. Writing about sport can be neat and academic, with scores, records, reports, lives and opinions cited to describe this game or that as a social phenomenon. Cricket, football, rugby, tennis, hockey, boxing, … You can learn how your chosen game grew out of poverty or the English public schools or mediaeval rural life or the empire. This is not such a book. It’s a love letter – to rugby, to Cardiff Rugby Football Club, and to the extraordinary Williams family. For you don’t go to Cardiff Arms Park – or Bath Rec or the Brewery Field or Twickers – to watch a social phenomenon. You go to see victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, or to bear disappointment with a pint; to applaud that outside break, that tackle, that kick; to bemoan the one-eyed referee or the team selection; to be partial but generous; to complain that the game isn’t what it was … but still to follow the latest stars and stalwarts, the clowns and villains that some rugby Shakespeare has placed upon the green stage. And to honour the Williams family and Cardiff RFC, Terry Breverton has turned himself into that know-all who drives you nuts, but with whom you will always go the match. The one you tell to shut up, because he goes on so – but when you want to know something, he’s the one you ask. This book is long overdue, but none the worse for it. Read it, and cheer.

Howard Ahmun ‘An excellent and informative book, about a family who have been a wonderful thread through the recent history of a great club. Having spent time in conversations with four of the brothers, I can highly recommend this book to lovers of the game they play in heaven.’

Lewis ‘What a story. As a Cardiff man and a lifelong supporter of Cardiff Rugby Club, I must agree with the review of David Mathews in that it is a ‘love letter’ to the club. Breverton has to return to the very beginnings of Cardiff and Welsh rugby, to explain and prove to younger readers why Cardiff was regarded as ‘the greatest’ rugby club across the world for over 75 years. Like another of the reviewers, Howard Ahmun, he was also lucky to see the four youngest brothers play, sometimes all at the same time, in the pre-substitutes, amateur game. And the fact that many of the first team, playing the best English and Welsh sides, appeared in around 50 games a season including trials and friendlies, shows how less dangerous rugby was, compared to the modern game.

A blockbuster of a book, about an incredible achievement by eight brothers who grew up in a small, rented, terraced house with four sisters, and went on to play at the very highest levels. Many older readers will have heard of Bleddyn Williams, ‘The Prince of Centres’, who led Cardiff and Wales in the only two defeats of New Zealand in their triumphant 1953 British tour. However, his brother Lloyd also captained Cardiff and Wales, as did his cousin Bill Tamplin. And his uncle Roy Roberts played alongside Bleddyn and Bill and was a war hero. What a story!

Gabe Treharne A fascinating read, easy to dip in and out of. Using the history of Cardiff RFC and the largely unheralded massive contribution made to it and to the Welsh Team by the 8 Williams Brothers who started their careers at Taff’s Well RFC, it draws a comparison with the modern game and warns of the damage being caused by modern trends. In the words of the author, “it is a book about a better game”.

Ioan Richard A real pleasure for sporting buffs .This book not only records graphically the history of Cardiff and Taffs Wells rugby clubs, but also the first hundred years of Welsh rugby. I could not put it down as I felt that I was there on the field. It is an incredible story of eight brothers from a small village who played for Cardiff when it was the greatest club in the world. This achievement can never be repeated. It is also a valuable document recording social history of its time in Wales, a wealth of information for historians and sportspeople alike. This is Terry Breverton at his very best.

E Williams ‘An amazing little known story of Welsh rugby family

As an English person found this fascinating story that is totally unknown. If this family was alive now or in England I think they would be on Sports Personality of the year. There are lots of statistics but also great stories that reflect the true gentleman and sportsmen who played Welsh rugby before it was professional.’

Gareth and Sharon Harvey ‘Excellent book - a must read. Wonderfully researched book detailing the amazing Williams brothers from Taff’s Well and their incredible rugby story. This is an important book in the annals of rugby history, and also shines a light on the social and economic history of Cardiff, Wales and the wider UK. Highly recommended- a must read’.

Dave Lewis ‘Fabulous history of an amazing family! As a Pontypridd rugby fan it pains me to admit that Cardiff in the fifties had some of the best sportsman that ever lived. All from a little village a few miles north of the city and about the same distance south of 'Ponty'. The lure of the bright lights must have been too much for them I guess. The Williams family was extraordinary for sure and this epic book charts a time and place that will never be seen again, as a sport (the greatest sport of all?) changes each year and becomes bigger on the global stage so the ideals of comradeship and humanity remain. Rediscover that magic of yesteryear and relive those great moments.’

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