Full name Philip Bennett
Born October 24, 1948, Felinfoel
Current age 65 years 302 days
Major teams Barbarians, British and Irish Lions, British and Irish Lions XV, Presidents XV, Wales, Wales XV
|British and Irish Lions||1974-1977||8||8||0||44||1||2||10||2||0||4||3||1||56.25|
|Test debut||France v Wales at Colombes, Mar 22, 1969 match details|
|Last Test||Wales v France at Cardiff, Mar 18, 1978 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Wales fly-half Phil Bennett is one of the all-time greats of the world game, a dazzling player with ball in hand and possessor of an astute tactical brain and the most dazzling side-step in rugby history. Making his debut as a replacement for Gerald Davies against France in 1969, Bennett bounced around several positions including wing and centre before winning his first cap at fly-half in 1970.
His main competitor for the fly-half jersey at the time was Barry John, another legendary figure and the architect of the British and Irish Lions' victory in New Zealand in 1971. Following John's abrupt retirement from the game in 1972, Bennett formed a wonderful partnership with scrum-half Gareth Edwards that would span both caps for Wales and the Lions.
In 1974 Bennett had his own Lions Test series win to savour, as part of the unbeaten side that took the spoils in South Africa. Bennett was then entrusted with the captaincy in 1977 in New Zealand, but was unable to repeat the feat of a series wind despite the dominance of his forward pack.
In a Wales jersey, Bennett was part of the side that dominated northern hemisphere rugby in the 1970s. Alongside such greats as Edwards, Gerald Davies, JPR Williams, Derek Quinnell, John Dawes et al he won Five Nations Grand Slams in 1976 and 1978 as well as the Championship in 1975.
He was also revered in the red of Llanelli and the black and white hoops of the Barbarians. By the time of his retirement in 1978 he had played 16 seasons at Stradey Park, including their 9-3 victory over the All Blacks in 1974, and made 20 appearances during the glory years of the Barbarians. It was his dancing feet, and the two most outrageous side-steps seen on the world stage, that began the road to the "greatest try ever scored" by Gareth Edwards during the Barbarians win over the All Blacks at Cardiff Arms Park in 1973.