Sydney John Dawes OBE (born 29 June 1940)[1] is a former Welsh rugby union player, playing at centre, and later coach. He captained London Welsh, Wales, the Barbarians and the British Lions. He was made an OBE in the 1972 New Years Honours List for services to sport.

John Dawes
Birth nameSydney John Dawes
Date of birth (1940-06-29) 29 June 1940 (age 79)
Place of birthAbercarn, Monmouthshire, Wales
SchoolLewis School Pengam
UniversityUniversity College of Wales, Aberystwyth
Loughborough College
Rugby union career
Position(s) centre
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Newbridge RFC
London Welsh RFC
Barbarian F.C.
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
British Lions


Dawes was born in Chapel of Ease, part of Abercarn near Newbridge. He was educated at Lewis School Pengam, and later University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and Loughborough College. He gained a degree in chemistry and later achieved a PGCE at Loughborough College, where he met his future wife, Janette Morris.

Rugby careerEdit

Dawes played club rugby for Newbridge in Monmouthshire, then joined London Welsh, winning his first cap for Wales against Ireland in 1964. He was selected for Wales' first overseas tour later the same year and played in the Welsh rugby team's first match outside of Europe and its first in the Southern Hemisphere; played against East Africa in Nairobi on 12 May 1964, Wales winning 26-8. He went on to make twenty two appearances for Wales, captaining the side in six of them, including leading the Grand Slam winning side of 1971.

British Lions captain and BarbariansEdit

In 1971, Dawes was appointed captain of the British and Irish Lions side for the tour to New Zealand. This side, coached by Carwyn James, became the first and so far the only Lions team to win a series in New Zealand. Dawes was also captain of the Barbarians side that beat New Zealand in Cardiff in 1973. Today he holds a proud record for any Welshman in the fact that as a player or coach he has never lost to an England side.

He is one of five captains to had lead his side to a test series win on New Zealand soil, along with Philip J. Nel (1937 Springboks), Trevor Allan (1949 Australia), Andrew Slack (1986 Australia) and Philippe Saint-André (1994 France).

Wales rugby and Lions CoachEdit

After retiring as a player, Dawes became coach of the Welsh national side in 1974, a post he held until 1979. This was one of the most successful periods in the history of Welsh rugby, with the team winning the Five Nations Championship four times in the five seasons between 1975 and 1979, including two Grand Slams. He also coached the 1977 British Lions tour to New Zealand, but was unable to repeat the success of 1971. He is currently president of London Welsh RFC and has written several books on rugby union.


  1. ^ John Dawes rugby profile ESPN

External linksEdit