During his career, in the 1970s, the opening half multiplied the selections in the national team (29), won the Five Nations Tournament three times and played eight matches under the Lions jersey against Africa of the South and New Zealand.
“Phil died peacefully at home Sunday night, surrounded by his close family. Our thoughts go to his wife Pat, his sons Steven and James, his family and his friends at this incredibly sad moment, ”the Galloic club said in a statement.
Bennett’s debut on the national team is in history. At just 20 years old, the young “Benny” replaces the injured Aier Gerald Davies in a match against France at the 1969 Tournament in Colombes. That day, the Welsh will struggle to match zero (8-8) but will have won a talented player.
He won his title gallon at the 1973 Tournament, with the retirement of Barry John, and formed a memorable carnière with Gareth Edwards, who led the Welsh to the Grand Chelem in 1976. The following year,
“He was in rugby what (Ian) Botham was in cricket, (Johan) Cruyff in football and (Ilie) Nastase in tennis”
A legendary causation
Bennett marks the history of rugby with a pre-match cause addressed to his teammates before taking on the English at Arms Park. “Look at what these bastions have done in Wales. They stole our coal, our water, our steel. They buy our houses and live only fifteen days a year. What did they give us? Absolutely nothing. We are exploited, raped, dominated and punished by the English, and they are the ones you will face this afternoon, ”he launches into his cloak. That day, the Welsh will bring it 14-9.
That same year, he led the Lions against the All Blacks without stopping them from losing the tour three wins to one.
“I was in rugby what (Ian) Botham was in cricket, (Johan) Cruyff or football and (Ilie) Nastase his tennis”, and Willie John McBride, captain on the 1974 Lions tour in which Bennett had participated . “He had magic in him, an infinite quality. He had the audacity to try rare gestures and make the spectators take their seats, ”he added.
At club, his best result remained Llanelli’s 9-3 win over the All Blacks in 1972. After his sporting retirement in 1981, Phil Bennett took over the Scarlets presidency and also endorsed the role of speaker, his television expert radio.