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Wales player was a true gentleman.

HOWARD Nicholls was a former Cardiff rugby wing who played in the famous 1957 win against Australia.

Mr Nicholls, who has died at the age of 79, was a keen bird watcher and a popular Maesteg butcher who, for many years, ran the family business on Talbot Street until his retirement in 1988.

Born in Maesteg on June 2, 1931, he attended the Hereford Cathedral School, where he played in the same cricket team as brothers Peter and Dick Richardson, who later batted for Worcestershire and England.

He moved to Porthcawl in 1963, when he married his late wife Jill, the daughter of Arthur Hugh Jones, a Wales wing of 1933, and the couple had four children, David, Sarah, Richard and Catherine.

They also had five grandchildren, with another on the way.

During his rugby career Mr Nicholls played for Bridgend, Maesteg, Cardiff, Crawshays and Wales.

His career with Cardiff spanned seven seasons, from 1952 to 1959, where he played 150 matches at wing and centre and as part of back lines that included the likes of Bleddyn Williams, Cliff Morgan, Rex Willis, Alun Priday and Gordon Wells.

Mr Nicholls scored 68 tries in total and was the top try scorer in the 1957-58 season with 20 tries.

His most notable achievements on the pitch included playing in the 1957 Cardiff win over Australia, in which Cardiff triumphed 14-11, and representing his country.

Mr Nicholls got one cap for Wales in a 1958 game against Ireland at Lansdowne Road, with Wales winning 9-6. By coincidence, that was also outside-half great Morgan's final appearance for Wales.

Paying tribute to her father, his daughter Sarah Thomas described him as a "well-known figure" and "true gentleman".

She added: "Dad was a very keen bird photographer and was well known at Kenfig Nature reserve.

He travelled to many countries pursuing his interest and had numerous photos published in various birding magazines."

Mr Nicholls died peacefully at Danygraig Care Home, Porthcawl, on March 2.

CAPTION(S):

[bar] Howard Nicholls, former Maesteg butcher and Cardiff and Wales rugby player, died on March 2, aged 79 [bar] Howard Nicholls puts in a kick during a Cardiff trial in August 1958. He went on to score 68 tries for the club
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 15, 2011
Words:373
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