Wales legend Les Pearce passes away

Former Wales head coach Les Pearce has died at the age of 94.

Pearce coached Wales Rugby League in a record breaking 1975 campaign, which included World Cup wins over England and New Zealand.

He was born on October 13, 1923 in Swansea and played for his hometown club, Swansea RFC, before turning professional terms with Halifax Rugby League in 1949.

Pearce spent ten years at Halifax before turning his attention to coaching. He coached Dewsbury before leading Halifax to a League Cup final win in 1972.

Later that year, he joined Leigh as head coach and guided them to a BBC2 Floodlit Trophy final win. Pearce returned to Halifax after the 1975 World Cup with Wales.

Ex-Wales star Jim Mills won seven of his 17 caps under Pearce. He has paid tribute to his old friend.

Mills said: “I’m so saddened that my great friend Les Pearce has died at 94.

“I first met Les in the Old Cock Pub in Halifax in 1964 where he was with his great friend John Thorley. Little did I know that one day we would become lifelong friends.

“Les came to Halifax from Swansea RU and was a very tough player in his day. He also coached Halifax.

“He was also the coach to the Welsh World Cup Team in 1975 in Australia and NZ and then the return games at home. We had great success under Les’s guidance beating England, New Zealand and France along the way.

“We all became very close on that tour and Les was loved by all the Welsh boys. We have had many reunions ever since and Les was always there right up to last year when he’s not been in the best of health.

“I know the boys will be very upset with the news he has left us, but I know one thing he will never be forgotten.

“Les’ lovely wife Betty left us about 12 years ago so they’re together again. Our deepest sympathy to his daughter Barbara, Chris and all his lovely family.”

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