IRB Hall of Fame
IRB Hall of Fame – Induction No.15 – Clifford Isaac Morgan CVO, MBE (1930-), Wales and the Lions
– Born: 7 April 1930 in Trebanog, Rhondda Valley, Wales.
– Family: Born into a mining family, the only son of Clifford and Edna May Morgan. He was first married to Nuala, with whom he had two children Catherine and Nicholas. Currently married to Patricia and lives in the Isle of Wight.
– Education: Tonyrefail Grammar School and Cardiff University.
– Other Sports: football and cricket
– Manager at Wire Ropes Wicklow, Ireland, then Organiser for the BBC Wales Sports programmes, Editor of BBC TV Grandstand, Editor of ‘This Week’ on BBC TV, BBC Radio Editor of Sport, Head of Radio Outside Broadcasting, Head of BBC TV Outside Broadcasting.
– Started playing rugby at Tonyrefail School under the watchful eye of rugby master Ned Gribble, whom he describes as the man “who did more than anyone to shape my future in rugby”.
– In 1948, aged 18, he was selected to play for the Welsh Secondary Schools in their annual fixture against Yorkshire and then against England Schools in Cardiff.
– At the suggestion of Les Hayward, his new sports master at school, he played for a Rex Willis XV in Porthcawl in 1948.
– The following year he and his Welsh Schools halfback partner Gronwyn Morgan applied to play in a Cardiff club trial and both were accepted.
– He went on playing for Cardiff Athletic (the second team) until October 1949 when he made his debut for the first team against Cambridge University.
– Played 202 matches for Cardiff RFC between 1949 and 1958, interrupted by one season in Ireland with Bective Rangers (1954/55) where he won the Leinster Cup.
– Made his Wales debut against Ireland on 10 March 1951 at Cardiff Arms Park in a 3-3 draw.
– Won 29 caps for Wales, four of them as captain.
– Played in 29 of the 33 Wales matches between 1951 and 1958 with a record of 19 wins, two draws and eight defeats.
– His last match for Wales was against France on 29 March 1958 at Cardiff Arms Park. France won 16-6.
– Made 17 appearances for the Barbarians after making his debut in the Mobbs Memorial match at Northampton in 1951.
– Made his Lions debut against Western Transvaal on 22 June 1955.
– Played a total of 15 Lions matches, including the four Tests on the 1955 tour, the first time South Africa failed to win the series in the 20th century.
– He toured Canada with the Barbarians in 1957 and captained them on their South Africa tour in 1958.
– The last international match of his career was for the Barbarians against East Africa in Nairobi in 1958.
– Member of the Wales Grand Slam winning team of 1952, playing in three of the four matches, missing the France match.
– Captained the Lions on four occasions, including the crucial third Test in Pretoria in 1955.
– Played for the Barbarians against South Africa in 1952, New Zealand in 1954 and Australia in 1958, the latter as captain.
Wales appearance summary
Captained Wales on four occasions
21/01/1956 v England
04/02/1956 v Scotland
10/03/1956 v Ireland
24/03/1956 v France
Wales Test summary
British & Irish Lions All-Time Matches
The 1955 tour of South Africa
22/06/1955 v Western Transvaal
25/06/1955 v Griqualand West
02/07/1955 v Orange Free State
05/07/1955 v South West Africa
20/07/1955 v North Eastern Districts
27/07/1955 v Rhodesia
30/07/1955 v Rhodesia
06/08/1955 v South Africa
13/08/1955 v Boland Kavaliers
20/08/1955 v South Africa
27/08/1955 v Northern Transvaal
03/09/1955 v South Africa
14/09/1955 v Junior Springboks
24/09/1955 v South Africa
British & Irish Lions Test Summary
Cliff Morgan was one of nine inductees to the IRB Hall of Fame in 2009
Awards and Distinctions
– OBE in 1977
– CVO in 1986
– Honorary Masters from the University of Wales in 1988
– Honorary Doctorate from the University of Kelle in 1989
– Honorary Fellow of the Polytechnic of Wales
– Award for Lifetime achievement from BBC Wales in 2007
What they said about him
“Dromio” (rugby correspondent of Newport Argus) after Morgan’s first appearance for the Welsh Secondary schools at 18: “What a joy it is to see in the rugby field a youngster who reveals a genius for the game. Some lads are born to play football. Without conscious thought, without instruction, they dodge, swerve, sidestep, and are dazzlingly effective in individual attack. Such lad was C. Morgan of Tonyrefail.”
Gareth Edwards (former Wales international and member of the IRB Hall of Fame: “Cliff was a great rugby player, an outstanding broadcaster, but possibly more important than anything, he is a great man.”
Tony O’Reilly (former Ireland international and member of the IRB Hall of Fame: “He is a man apart because of his gaiety, his grandeur, eloquence, because of his skills as a football player, and his generosity to other players, which was enormous. He is not a selfish man in life or on the field. To me he is simply the greatest of them all.”
A.C.Parker (writer): “The star turn of the tour in more ways than one, for he is an irrepressible comedian and an accomplished pianist and singer – he always led the Lions’ choir ... Many good judges are prepared to class this bow-legged little genius as the finest outside half ever to visit the Union.”