Ex-players organise special service to remember Mervyn Davies
SOME of the biggest names in the rugby world are heading to Swansea for a service to celebrate the life and achievements of the late Mervyn Davies.
Ex-British Lions skippers Willie John-McBride and John Dawes will be among those commemorating the player affectionately known as "Merv the Swerve", who died in March aged 65 following a battle with cancer.
The London Welsh and Swansea player won 38 caps for Wales and played eight tests for the British Lions in 1971 and 1974. He was handed the Welsh captaincy in 1975 and led his team to the Grand Slam in 1976.
Former International Rugby Board chairman Syd Millar and Ian McLauchlan, chairman of the Scottish Rugby Union, are among the other rugby legends who will be at the service.
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Clive Rowlands, Mike Burton, and Welsh Rugby Union president Dennis Gethin and chief executive Roger Lewis will also be in attendance.
The event, to be held in the Brangwyn Hall near the St Helen's rugby ground, at noon on November 1 has been organised by the Welsh Rugby Former International Players Association (Wrex).
Association founder JJ Williams, who played alongside Merv for Wales and the Lions, said: "It's only fitting that the rugby world has an opportunity to pay tribute to a true icon of Welsh rugby.
"Mervyn Davies was also a chairman of Wrex, and we're all looking forward to attending and celebrating the life of one of Wales's and the Lions' greatest ever players."
The celebration — which will include a choir singing rugby favourites along with video highlights of Merv's career — is being supported by Swansea RFC and Swansea Council.
Swansea Council leader David Phillips said: "He was a giant of a man both on and off the field who was adored by rugby fans across the planet.
"The reaction of the rugby world to the memorial service is testament to his enduring popularity and stunning achievements."
In a 2002 a poll of Welsh rugby fans, Merv the Swerve — instantly recognisable on the pitch with his thick moustache and white headband — was voted greatest Welsh captain and greatest Welsh number eight ever.
Free tickets for the event are available from the Lord Mayor's office on 01792 635150.