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Page last updated at 14:30 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 15:30 UK

Welsh rugby mourns Tanner death

Wales

Former Wales and Lions scrum-half Haydn Tanner has died at the age of 92.

The great Swansea and Cardiff number nine was the oldest living Welsh and Lions rugby international.

Tanner made his international debut as an 18-year-old in the epic Wales win over New Zealand in 1935 and went on to play 25 times for his country.

He was also selected for the 1938 Lions tour to South Africa - at 21 one of the youngest players on the trip - and played in the second Test.

Another Welsh legend, Bleddyn Williams - who played with Tanner either side of the Second World War - maintains that the scrum-half was "the greatest".

"Among all the scrum-halves I've seen and played with, he would reign supreme. And the rest of the rugby playing world had the same opinion as myself," said Williams, who was selected by the 1950 Lions.

Haydn Tanner's service was even better than Gareth Edwards and he could reverse pass almost half the width of the field

Bleddyn Williams

"He was a totally great player - one of the greatest. He was a schoolboy international from Swansea who grew into a master tactician.

"He had a superb pass - the best I ever played with. His service was even better than Gareth Edwards and he could reverse pass almost half the width of the field.

"He would only made a couple of breaks in a game, but they invariably led to tries. He was strong and difficult to tackle.

"I always found him to be a good captain, although he never suffered fools gladly."

* Haydn Tanner's funeral will be held at Randalls Park Crematorium, Randalls Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 0AG at 1230 BST on Friday, 19 June.



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