Obituary: Cliff Morgan, 83, Wales fly-half and broadcaster

A look back at the life and career of Cliff Morgan

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Former Wales international Cliff Morgan has died aged 83. He will be remembered as one of the most talented fly-halves in the history of rugby union.

He later became a respected commentator, writer and head of outside broadcasts for the BBC.

Morgan joined Cardiff RFC from school and won 29 caps for Wales, captaining his country and the British Lions.

He will also be remembered for his historic match commentary on the Barbarians v All Blacks match in 1973.

Describing a dramatic try in the opening moments of the game, Morgan said: "Brilliant by Quinnell. This is Gareth Edwards; a dramatic start. What a score!"

He recalled in The Independent newspaper in 2003 that the match was "one of the great privileges of my life".

"The commentary should have been done by Bill McLaren, the greatest, but he couldn't do it [due to a sudden illness].

Cliff Morgan pictured in 1956 Cliff Morgan pictured in 1956

"The game had everything. It had all the qualities of an exhibition game, yet great toughness and both sides wanted to win. I was thrilled to be able to convey something of the atmosphere to a live audience in New Zealand, as well as Great Britain."

Morgan was born in Trebanog near Porth in the Rhondda on 7 April 1930, the son of a miner, who was a talented footballer.

He joined Cardiff from school in 1949 and played a leading role in Wales' Grand Slam success in 1952.

Morgan was prominent in the British Lions side which became the first to avoid a series defeat in South Africa in 1955. He scored a try in the opening test and captained the Lions to a third test win.

Start Quote

That is the way I talk to people and that is the way I broadcast, I am a simple soul”

End Quote Cliff Morgan Former Wales international

On arriving at Johannesburg airport, Morgan famously won over the waiting crowd over by leading the squad singing in Afrikaans.

Morgan joined BBC Wales in 1958 after retiring from playing, eventually moving effortlessly to a seat behind the microphone.

He also became known to a wider TV audience as a team captain in A Question of Sport in the 1970s, trading verbal quips with boxer Henry Cooper.

Morgan came back from a stroke he suffered at the age of 41, which he later wrote had not only affected his speech and movement but also led to financial problems.

In 1975, he was appointed as the BBC's head of outside broadcasts - a post he held for 12 years.

He then later presented Sport on Four for BBC Radio 4.

Responding to criticism that his gentle interviewing style was "too soft" he responded: "That is the way I talk to people and that is the way I broadcast. I am a simple soul."

Morgan expressed sadness that the game had turned professional and admitted "living in a tracksuit would have driven us bonkers".

He was also awarded the OBE.

He was married to Nuala Martin for 45 years before her sudden death in 1999 on the eve of the Rugby World Cup.

Morgan leaves two children and his second wife, Pat, who he married in 2001.

Cliff Morgan and British Lions Cliff Morgan talks to the British Lions Rugby team 1962

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