IRB honours Welsh coaching pioneer

Date published: October 23 2014

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Pioneering coach Ray Williams has been named as the 2014 winner of the prestigious Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service.

Pioneering coach and dedicated administrator Ray Williams has been named as the 2014 winner of the prestigious Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service as a mark of the significant positive contribution he has made to the game throughout his lifetime.

In 1967, Williams changed the way rugby coaching operated when he was appointed as the first full-time Welsh Rugby Union coaching organiser. His innovative and inspirational approach to the game involved the application of a scientific approach to coaching technique and was ahead of its time.

He was appointed secretary of WRU in 1980, a position he carried out with dedication and distinction until 1988. He then became a national representative on the General Committee of the WRU and was also the Union’s representative on IRB Council from 1993-97. He successfully carried out the duties of Tournament Director of Rugby World Cup 1991.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The IRB Awards recognise those who have inspired and encouraged our family to grow, to thrive and reach out. Ray Williams is a wonderful example of how, through his dedication to our sport and its character-building values, rugby can change lives, bring people together and provide tremendous camaraderie. He is a worthy winner of this prestigious award as someone who changed for the better the way the game was coached while also managing to stay true to the game’s core values.”

WRU President Dennis Gethin said: “Ray Williams took his ideas to the world and the world came to Wales to listen and to learn from him. People from far and wide came under his influence and his ideas contributed to the way the modern game has developed over the past four decades.

“I can think of no more deserving winner of the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service and on behalf of the WRU I wish to thank Ray for his unfailing service to the game over such a long period of time.”
The award will be presented to Williams at a special ceremony next week in Llanelli.

Previous winners of the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service
2013 – Ian McIntosh (South Africa)
2012 – Viorel Morariu (Romania)
2011 – Jock Hobbs (New Zealand)
2010 – Jean-Claude Baque (France)
2009 – Noel Murphy (Ireland)
2008 – Nicholas Shehadie (Australia)
2007 – Jose Epalza (Spain)
2006 – Brian Lochore (New Zealand)
2005 – Peter Crittle (Australia)
2004 – Ronnie Dawson (Ireland)
2003 – Bob Stuart (New Zealand)
2002 – Allan Hosie (Scotland)
2001 – Tom Kiernan (Ireland)

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