CYRIL ROBERTS

All at Neath Rugby will be saddened to hear of the passing of former Welsh All Blacks winger Cyril Roberts who lived in the town.

Cyril (born in Neath in 1930) was Neath’s regular right-wing during the 1950’s, appearing over 200 times after making his debut in 1953/54 when he scored seven tries. The following year he scored 20 and he notched a personal best 21 in 1956/57 then 18 in 1958/59 to become one of the most prolific scorers of his era.

By the time he played his last game for Neath in 1960, Cyril had scored 91 tries in the All Black shirt and he also played for Bryncoch, Neath Athletic and Briton Ferry. Cyril played too for the combined Neath-Aberavon side which lost narrowly 3-5 against Australia on Saturday, December 28th, 1957.

Metal Box worker Cyril was capped twice for Wales in 1958. He won his first cap and scored on his debut in the 9-6 win over Ireland in Dublin when he replaced his great mate John Collins (Aberavon). He subsequently held his place for the 6-16 home loss to France.

People who saw Cyril play in the then No.2 shirt for Neath recall that he was an excellent finisher, often diving in at head height to touch down in the corner. And, with the flying Keith Maddocks usually on the opposite flank, Neath had an especially potent pair of international wingers.

The Roberts family have a long and distinguished connection with rugby in Neath. Cyril’s father John won a Welsh Schoolboys cap but lost a leg fighting in France with the Royal Naval division in the First World War.

Cyril’s nephew, also John, played for Neath, played for Wales in the first-ever ‘B’ international against France and ran the line for Neath twice last season at the grand young age of 75.

The Neath club’s sympathies go out to all his family and friends. MP