Wales and Lion Rugby Legend Prosser Dies

London, Nov 23 (AFP/APP): Former Wales and British and Irish Lions prop Ray Prosser, who enjoyed a highly successful coaching career with Pontypool, has died at the age of 93, the club announced on Monday.

Prosser was capped 22 times between 1956 and 1961, and also toured with the Lions in 1959, starting when they won the fourth Test against New Zealand. He absorbed lessons he learned on that tour and introduced them when he took over Pontypool in 1969, turning them into the dominant force in Welsh club rugby. He guided Pontypool, in the days before leagues, to five unofficial Welsh championship crowns including a hat-trick of titles 1984-86 during an 18-year tenure.

Prosser was responsible for developing a rich seam of talent including Terry Cobner, Jeff Squire and Eddie Butler, who all captained Wales and became Lions players. He also helped create the legendary ‘Pontypool Front Row’, of Graham Price, Bobby Windsor and Charlie Faulkner, with the three players representing Wales on 19 occasions. The trio only tasted defeat in four Tests. Price, who won 12 Lions caps and 41 for Wales, said Prosser was an innovator.

“He is an icon of Pontypool rugby club, he put the town on the map and the town is known throughout the world because of Pontypool rugby and what he did,” Price told BBC Wales. “He was an amazing coach, unique at the time. “He went on the ’59 Lions tour to New Zealand and he became so impressed with the way they conducted themselves over there that he brought back the same methods when he became Pontypool coach.” Pontypool said Prosser “will be forever regarded as the most influential figure in Pontypool RFC history.”

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