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For many, his voice may have been the first iconic voice anyone heard regarding rugby.
Cliff Morgan, the longtime BBC rugby commentator has died at 83. Morgan is best known for his announcing of the lauded 1973 Barbarians v All Blacks match. But, oddly, while his enthusiastic call of "This is Gareth Edwards, a dramatic start ... what a score!" might be seared into our minds, he was more often a calm, studied voice.
His low-key presentation of the terrific BBC series on Welsh rugby was much
more his style, and if you can find it, it's worth seeing (and
Morgan was also a brilliant rugby player in his own right. He was capped 29 times for Wales at flyhalf, back when a national team would be lucky to record five matches in a year, and he also was a star for the British Lions.
He came before Barry John and Phil Bennett, but he was arguably just as skilled, and certainly as knowledgeable as anyone about the game.
Perhaps his greatest moment on the field was when he helped inspire the 1955 Lions to a 23-22 victory over South Africa in front of almost 100,000 in Johannesburg.
He scored a try in that match. As a commentator he gave way to the great Bill McLaren (who died in 2010) and Nigel Starmer-Smith (who is still working), but he became editor of Grandstand, the longstanding BBC sports show, and head of outside broadcasts.
He was hugely influential in helping rugby reach the masses, and hugely enthusiastic about the game. Think on someone who was an international sports star of the highest order, retires at 28, becomes the top of his profession (TV commentator) for about ten years, then steps away from that to work behind the scenes, staying at the top of his profession in a third career.
Morgan later took to radio, becoming the host of Sport on 4, a BBC Radio 4 show on sports of all kinds. He was beloved in this role, and it was called in an article by the BBC, as perhaps his crowning achievement.
In 2007 Cliff Morgan received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC. By then Cliff Morgan, 1930-2013, had done enough to receive four.
Morgan's Call on That Try