The 43 Welshmen who’ve all formally been the most productive rugby participant in Wales

The reputable Welsh rugby participant of the yr award has returned this yr after a three-year Covid-enforced hiatus.

Will Rowlands has claimed the highest award after impressing in Wales’ Six Nations marketing campaign, enjoying all however one Wales tournament all the way through the season.

He is the primary Wales participant to obtain the award since Alun Wyn Jones in 2019.

Voting for the highest participant in Wales through the writers began in 1969 and the gong has since been issued underneath more than a few other guises.

Lions legend Gareth Edwards was once the primary winner 46 years in the past and was once joined two years later through ‘The King’ Barry John.

Perhaps strangely although, neither of the ones two greats have been to be honoured once more with 9 gamers – Terry Cobner, Mervyn Davies, Terry Holmes, Scott Quinnell, Rob Howley, Neil Jenkins, Gareth Thomas, James Hook and Alun Wyn Jones – being awarded the accolade two times.

Meanwhile, some extra sudden, but well-deserved, winners come with one-cap surprise Ray ‘Chico’ Hopkins, Clive Burgess, Gwyn Evans, Mark Titley, Phil Davies, Arthur Emyr and Chris Wyatt.

Here, we chart the entire Wales gamers who’ve been hailed because the country’s largest:

1969 Gareth Edwards – Considered the best ever and fittingly, this accolade’s first recipient. The best marvel is that this Lions legend by no means received the award once more. Went directly to make 55 consecutive Wales appearances till retirement in 1978.

1970 Ray ‘Chico’ Hopkins – Maesteg scrum-half honoured for possibly essentially the most well-known super-sub look in Welsh rugby historical past as he impressed his country to victory at Twickenham as a second-half alternative for Edwards on his first and best cap. You can learn what has transform of Chico right here.


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1971 Barry John – He helped orchestrate the Grand Slam and went onto be referred to as ‘The King’ for his good presentations for the Lions within the collection win in New Zealand later that yr. Retired a yr later in 1972 elderly simply 27.

1972 JPR Williams – The fearsome full-back notched the primary Welsh four-point attempt with a a very powerful rating within the 12-3 over England at Twickenham. Would pass on to attain 5 of his six Test tries in opposition to England. Read extra concerning the nice guy and the way he was once at all times other from the remaining right here.

1973 Tommy David – Only received first cap within the last Five Nations tournament in opposition to France in Paris. But was once a part of the Llanelli aspect who defeated New Zealand 9-3 that season and was once an uncapped Barbarians participant who performed within the well-known tournament in opposition to the All Blacks in Cardiff.

1974 Terry Cobner – The Pontypool skipper made a memorable Five Nations debut in opposition to Scotland and celebrated through scoring the sport’s best attempt.

1975 Mervyn Davies – He oversaw the delivery of a brand new aspect as captain which incorporated six new caps in Paris for Five Nations opener. A Grand Slam was once best denied through a 12-10 defeat in opposition to Scotland in Murrayfield.



Legends Gareth Edwards, Phil Bennett and captain Mervyn Davies at Heathrow airport in 1975 when Wales toured Japan
Legends Gareth Edwards, Phil Bennett and captain Mervyn Davies at Heathrow airport in 1975 when Wales toured Japan

1976 Mervyn Davies – The Lions No. 8 was once an inspirational determine as Wales finished a Five Nations blank sweep. He was once to not determine for Wales after struggling a haemorrhage at the box whilst captaining Swansea in opposition to Pontypool.

1977 Phil Bennett – Benny took over captaincy from ‘Merve the Swerve’ and led Wales to a Triple Crown and skippered the Lions in the summertime in New Zealand. He scored an excellent attempt in a memorable Murrayfield transfer began through Gerald Davies.

1978 Terry Cobner – The flanker received the award for a moment time as a praise for his consistency in a season which noticed some good particular person performances from JJ Williams, Steve Fenwick and retiring duo Gareth Edwards and Phil Bennett.

1979 Terry Holmes – How to fill the massive sneakers of Edwards was once at all times going to be a checking out conundrum however this younger abrasive Cardiff scrum-half burst onto the world scene as a part of Triple Crown-winning aspect. Read extra concerning the legend who refuses to reside up to now right here.

1980 David Richards – The silky centre scored tries in opposition to France and Scotland in a season absolute best remembered for Paul Ringer’s notorious sending-off in opposition to England at Twickenham.

1981 Clive Burgess – The Ebbw Vale flanker was once key member of the 1977 Triple Crown-winning aspect and on his recall from the world desert in 1981 was once promptly voted Welsh participant of the yr.

1982 Gwyn Evans – The Maesteg full-back finished 50 Test issues quicker than some other Welsh participant and kicked a then global document six consequences in 22-12 win over France in Cardiff. He toured New Zealand with Lions within the following yr.

1983 Terry Holmes – The Blue and Blacks No. 9 received the award 4 years after his first after proving the muse in the back of 23-9 house victory over Ireland.

1984 Mark Titley – The Bridgend wing, who would later sign up for Swansea, scored within the opening Five Nations defeat in opposition to Scotland as Wales celebrated away victories in Dublin and Twickenham.



1985 Mark Ring – The Cardiff centre was once a shining mild in any other mediocre season together with his trademark scorching side-steps serving to arrange a very good attempt for Mark Wyatt in Scotland.

1986 Jonathan Davies – The twinkle-toed outside-half had made his debut the yr sooner than and helped Wales win two video games in 1986. One of the ones was once the victory in Scotland which shall be remembered for Paul Thorburn’s monster penalty.

1987 Stuart Evans – This was once the yr Wales completed 3rd within the World Cup and Robert Jones was once voted European participant of the match, and Neath prop Evans was once rewarded for his section within the brutal struggle in opposition to England in Cardiff when he scored the match-winning attempt.

1988 Bob Norster – A primary Triple Crown for 9 years was once lit up through some very good tries from Adrian Hadley, Jonathan Davies and Ieuan Evans. But good fortune was once constructed on ahead platform and Cardiff lock Norster reigned very best within the lineout.

1989 Phil Davies – Wales best have shyed away from a Five Nations whitewash with a final-day victory over England. The Llanelli lock was once an ever-present within the Welsh pack and was once rewarded for his consistency.



They don't build refs like this anymore! Ref Les Peard talks to Captains Phil Davies and Kevin Phillips during that Neath v Llanelli final

1990 Arthur Emyr – It was once any other match whitewash which incorporated resignation of trainer John Ryan midway throughout the marketing campaign with Ron Waldron taking up. One vivid spark was once Emyr’s attempt within the defeat in opposition to Scotland.

1991 Scott Gibbs – The centre made his debut as a 19-year-old along Neil Jenkins in opposition to England in Cardiff, and was once a beacon in any other deficient season which yielded one house draw in opposition to Ireland.

Read extra: Scott Gibbs, the original and complicated Welsh rugby hero who refused to apply the gang

1992 Emyr Lewis – The Llanelli flanker helped Wales to 2 victories in opposition to Ireland and Scotland as Wales emerged from the 1991 World Cup shambles.

1993 Ieuan Evans – An Emyr Lewis chip allowed Evans to attain one in every of his most famed Wales tries in a surprise win over England. Evans was once additionally a part of Llanelli’s double successful aspect and the Scarlets additionally defeated global champions Australia at Stradey Park.



In 1993, England were expected to just turn up and win at a canter. They hadn't reckoned on Ieuan Evans. Rory Underwood and the rest of the rugby world know what happened next

1994 Neil Jenkins – Few will fail to remember Scott Quinnell’s good man-of-the-match show in opposition to France however Jenkins was once essentially the most constant performer in Five Nations title-winning aspect. He scored all 17 issues in away victory in opposition to Ireland.

1995 Neil Jenkins – The boot of the ‘Ginger Monster’ mattered for little in a Five Nations whitewash which noticed Wales rating only one attempt. Alan Davies surrender sooner than World Cup however Cardiff trainer Alex Evans may just now not information Wales out of the crowd levels.

1996 Rob Howley – The Bridgend scrum-half scored on his debut within the defeat in opposition to England and adopted this up with any other landing within the last weekend victory over France in Cardiff.

1997 Rob Howley – It was once a second of historical past for the Wales No. 9 who scored the overall attempt within the closing world staged on the Arms Park in opposition to England, who received very easily at the day.

1998 Allan Bateman – This yr marked a unusual Five Nations the place Wales suffered hidings in opposition to England (60-26) – the place Bateman scored two tries – and in opposition to France (51-0) at Wembley, with the previous rugby megastar lacking for that thru harm. You can examine Bateman’s new lifestyles at the moment right here.



1999 Chris Wyatt – A gradual get started for Graham Henry was once adopted through good victories over France and England in closing Five Nations match. Howley, Jenkins, Quinnell and Gibbs shone however lineout ace Wyatt was once type of consistency. Read extra concerning the final Welsh rugby cult hero right here.

2000 Mark Taylor – It was once a season which included the 1999 World Cup the place hosts Wales bowed out within the quarter-final, with Taylor forming an efficient partnership with Allan Bateman.

2001 Scott Quinnell – The barnstorming No. 8 was once a revelation and scored tries in the house defeat in opposition to England and the very good away win in Paris. He went onto transform a Lions Test No. 8 in Australia that summer season.

2002 Scott Quinnell – Becoming the 3rd participant to win this accolade in successive years, Quinnell captained Wales in a hard season the place Graham Henry resigned and Steve Hansen took over.

2003 Gareth Thomas – A Six Nations whitewash began with a depressing defeat in Rome and ended with a sobering defeat in Paris. The guy they nicknamed ‘Alfie’ controlled to open the scoring with a attempt in France so as to add to the only in opposition to Ireland.

2004 Gareth Thomas – Thomas was once a revelation after changing to full-back and changed into a talisman.

2005 Martyn Williams – He performed one thing of a bit-part function underneath Hansen however revelled within the first Grand Slam-winning aspect for 27 years because the Cardiff Blues flanker was once named Six Nations participant of the match, principally for his two-try heroics in Paris.



He'd waited a long time for this. A very long time

2006 Duncan Jones – This was once any other aggravating yr in Welsh rugby’s growth and bust tradition as trainer Mike Ruddock resigned a yr after successful Grand Slam. Ospreys prop Jones was once exceptional within the autumn victory over Australia.

2007 James Hook – The Ospreys outside-half arrived at the scene with confident alternative show in opposition to Australia and orchestrated the overall Six Nations day win over England, averting a whitewash for Gareth Jenkins’ aspect.

2008 Shane Williams – His shocking performances helped Wales win a Grand Slam and passed Williams the Six Nations particular person award. He received the massive one later that yr when he was once named IRB global participant of the yr.

2009 Gethin Jenkins – The spotlight of the previous Cardiff Blues prop’s season was once his huge efficiency within the 23-15 victory over England in Cardiff. Joe Worsley received man-of-the-match for his man-marking process on Jamie Roberts nevertheless it will have to had been Jenkins.

2010 James Hook – He received the award for a moment time as he shone within the centre, typified through his good particular person attempt from damaged play away in opposition to England.



2011 Sam Warburton – Enjoying a step forward yr for the Blues, the flanker was once awarded the Welsh captaincy elderly simply 22 through Warren Gatland forward of the World Cup in New Zealand. He would later undergo heartbreak after being despatched off in semi-final defeat in opposition to France.

2012 Dan Lydiate – The chop-tackling flanker was once the most obvious selection after being named Six Nations participant of the match for dogged defensive efforts which laid foundations for a moment Grand Slam underneath Gatland.

2013 Leigh Halfpenny – The meticulous kicker loved an award-winning yr as he additionally picked up the Six Nations and Lions guy of the collection accolades.

2014 Alun Wyn Jones – This was once a becoming praise for his trademark consistency. He had led the Lions within the 3rd Test in opposition to Australia in the summertime of 2013 and emerged as one of the vital global’s absolute best second-rows.

2015 Rhys Webb – The Guinness PRO12 participant of the season that yr, Webb was once said for a sizzling try-scoring streak of nineteen tries in 27 video games for the Ospreys and Wales. He simply pipped his regional and nationwide half-back spouse Dan Biggar to this award.

2016 Taulupe Faletau – The back-rower held off the problem of Jamie Roberts in his last season on the Dragons. He was once the type of consistency all the way through the 2015 World Cup and 2016 Six Nations, scooping this award for the primary time.

2017 Justin Tipuric – The Ospreys guy beat Ken Owens to the gong this yr through simply two votes after a high quality season for the Ospreys and Wales. It was once his 5th award that yr after he received 4 gongs within the senior gamers’ phase for the Ospreys at their end-of-season dinner.

2018 Josh Navidi – Navidi was once rewarded for an impressive season for each membership and nation through taking the highest prize within the Welsh Rugby Writers Association ballot. He noticed off a large problem from hooker Ken Owens to take the distinguished identify through only a unmarried vote, with Hadleigh Parkes completing in 3rd position.

2019 Alun Wyn Jones – He captained Wales to their first Grand Slam in seven years, marking Jones’ 3rd blank sweep on best of successes in 2008 and 2012. He was once named Six Nations participant of the championship for his talismanic management and have an effect on.

2020 and 2021 – No ballots came about because of Covid.

2022 Will Rowlands – The award was once resurrected after a three-year wreck. Rowlands figured in all however one in every of Wales’ suits all the way through the season and was once arguably the stand-out participant all the way through the Six Nations, main the best way for turnovers and making the second-most carries and tackles. He additionally inspired for the Dragons, having joined them from Wasps closing summer season. Read Rowlands’ response right here.

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