Following the sad loss of another London Welsh stalwart, a champion of the club and a Welshman who found his way to London and London Welsh: we look back and celebrate the life of Glan Richards.
By Edgar Thomas
Glan was born in Myddfai, Carmarthenshire and attended Llandovery Grammar School from 1949 – 1956 where he was Head Boy in his final year. He was an outstanding athlete at school, captaining the Rugby and cricket teams and an all-rounder at athletics. He represented the county in all three sports and at one stage held the County record in the High Jump.
He did his teacher training at the Carnegie College in Leeds before embarking on his teaching career in West London in 1961. He taught in a variety of schools before he was appointed Head of P. E. at the William Penn school in Herne Hill. **!
He eventually became the Director of Sport at the Polytechnic of Central London. He encouraged many notable athletes to pursue their chosen sport to a higher level. One of his students was Colin Charvis who under Glan’s direction joined London Welsh – and the rest is history!
Glan had a stellar involvement with London Welsh. He joined in 1961 making his Ist Team debut on the Easter tour in 1962 at Pontypool. He played for the IstXV 100 times, scoring 38 tries. He generally played on the left wing outside John Dawes. His best seasons were 1963 – 1965 scoring 19 tries in 1965. He continued to play occasionally for the Ist team until his final game in 1969 against Bedford when he scored two tries. He captained the Druids between 1966 and 1968.
After finishing playing, he undertook many roles within the administration of the club. He served on the General Committee and chaired the Schools section for many years. He will perhaps be best remembered for developing the Mini Rugby section and worked alongside Don Rutherford and Ray Williams in creating what has become the breeding ground for aspiring rugby youngsters all over the world. His organisation at LW became a blue print that has been adopted universally. He was a Senior Welsh coach and was always keen to develop the players at a young age. His rugby philosophy was simple: the game was to be enjoyed; to supply rugby for boys whose schools did not play the game; that the system was underpinned by good coaching; that the boys were not overplayed; to supply a rational line of progress into senior rugby and that proper medical care was available always during training and during matches. As Chairman of the Schools section, he later established the Griffins XV for players post-school to ensure a structured development into the senior game .
This in many ways was the forerunner of the Academy system now operated by most Premiership Clubs in England.
To conclude, Glan’s involvement and contribution was enormous. All accomplished with dignity and modesty.
‘Roedd cyfraniad Glan ym myd rugby yn Hen Barc y Ceirw yn aruthrol, fel oedd ei gyfraniad I addysg mewn llawer man yn y ddinas
Gorwedd mewn hedd, Glan.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY EDGAR THOMAS