Dr Jack Matthews was renowned as one of the hardest tacklers in the world game, described by one rival as “a cross between a bulldozer and a brick wall”. He won 17 caps for Wales as a centre and wing between 1947-51, playing in all four Grand Slam matches in 1950, and played in all six Tests on the 1950 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia. WW2 robbed him of some of his best years, between 19-25, although he did play in five uncapped Victory internationals. He captained Wales on his final international appearance against France in Paris.
With Bleddyn Williams he formed one of the great centre partnerships for Cardiff, Wales and the Lions and the two team mates were inseparable friends off the field for the whole of their lives. Dr Jack played 180 times for Cardiff, helping them to beat the touring Australians in 1948. He also played against the 1951 Springboks and became club captain.
Educated at Bridgend County School and the University of Wales College of Medicine, he wan the Welsh AAA Junior 220 yards title and represented the Welsh Secondary Schools at rugby for three seasons. He earned his first senior Wales senior trial at 18. He joined the RAF in WW2, but was told to continue with his medical studies. He famously
fought a four-round draw with Rocky Marciano when the future world heavyweight champion was stationed in Wales with American forces at RAF St Athan during WW2.
He became a much loved and respected GP in Cardiff after WW2 and claimed to have brought 7,500 babies into the world. He missed the birth of the first of his two children, Peter, because he was on tour with the Lions. He served as team doctor for the British Lions in South Africa in 1980 and was appointed OBE in 1981.
Jack Matthews (Rugby Player) Born in Bridgend on 21 June, 1920; Died in Cardiff on 18 July, 2012