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Last Updated: Friday, 31 December, 2004, 00:56 GMT
MBE prize for Welsh rugby great
Born in Taffs Well, 22/2/1923
22 caps for Wales (1947-1955); 7 tries.
Five Tests for the Lions in Australia (2) & New Zealand (3) in 1950.
Bleddyn Williams - Welsh rugby's acclaimed "Prince of Centres" - has been honoured with a MBE.

Williams, who will be 82 in February, is one of Wales' all-time greats, leading both Cardiff and Wales to victory against the All Blacks in 1953.

The inside centre forged a mighty midfield partnership with his Cardiff team-mate Dr Jack Matthews.

He also made his mark with the Lions and was named vice-captain for the tour of New Zealand and Australia in 1950.

Williams featured in 20 of the 30 games during a marathon trip, which included four Tests against the All Blacks and two against Australia.

With Irish forward Karl Mullen injured, Williams took over as skipper for the narrow defeats in Wellington and Auckland, and he led the Lions to a 19-6 success against Australia in Brisbane, scoring a try.

First capped as a fly-half against England at Cardiff Arms Park in 1947, Williams helped Wales to a share of the Five Nations title that season.

But 1953 was the year that Williams left a lasting impression on Welsh rugby.

He captained Cardiff and Wales to victories over Bob Stuart's All Blacks - a feat Wales have not repeated in 17 attempts.

Williams' 22nd and final Test match appearance - again as captain - came against England in 1955, when a 3-0 victory brought the curtain down on a truly outstanding career.

He keeps exalted company as one of the true Welsh rugby greats with legendary figures such as Gareth Edwards, Barry John and JPR Williams.

Wales' other sporting heroes to be honoured in the 2005 New Year Honours List are Paralympians Tanni Grey-Thompson and Dave Roberts.

Grey-Thompson became Britain's greatest ever Paralympian, winning 11 gold medals, with two more titles in the 2004 Games in Athens.

Her reward is to be made a Dame, while Roberts - who won four swimming golds in Athens - is appointed a MBE.

Another deserving MBE goes to Nobby Woodcock for his services to football in Bettws, Gwent.

Woodcock was named the inaugural BBC Unsung Hero of the Year in 2003 for his unstinting work with grassroots football in Wales.

Sharon Price is also appointed a MBE for her services to swimming in Torfaen.

Just down the road in Newport, English-born sprinter Darren Campbell is also the proud recipient of a MBE, as Great Britain's 4x100m Olympic relay squad is honoured.

Campbell, Jason Gardener, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis caused one of the biggest upsets of the Athens Games by beating red-hot favourites the United States.


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