Dai Hayward

Combative Cardiff and Wales rugby player
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The Independent Online

David John Hayward (Dai Hayward), rugby player: born Crumlin, Monmouthshire, 1 March 1934; married (two sons); died Bridgend 12 November 2003.

Dai Hayward was one of the most combative flank forwards in rugby of his era. The former Cardiff and Wales back-row man was renowned as a destroyer of opposing back divisions in the late Fifties and Sixties.

Born David John Hayward on St David's Day 1934, he was educated at the local Crumlin High Level School and then the nearby Newbridge Grammar School, making two appearances for Wales under-15s and then six for the Wales Senior Schools.

He first represented Wales in 1949, in a 41-8 win over England under-15s at Bristol, following with a 41-0 win over South of Scotland at Cardiff. At that time he was in the Abercarn Schools area side, and from grammar school in 1951 and 1952 he played alongside the brilliant Onllwyn Brace in Senior Schools victories over Yorkshire, France and England.

His education continued at Loughborough College, where his crunching tackles and great ability to be first to the breakdown and counter-attack swiftly soon brought him county honours with Leicestershire.

He played senior rugby for both Crumlin and Newbridge, but joined the flow to trials at Cardiff in the summer of 1957 and he was to spend almost 40 years as player and committeeman. He made 325 appearances for the 1st XV and scored 50 tries from 1957-58 until his retirement at the end of the 1966-67 season.

From teaching, he moved into interior design and was then a manager of a drinks company. He played the 1957 Cardiff win over Australia and became club skipper in 1962, but, despite his great reputation as a destroyer, there had been no senior cap; he may have suffered from his reputation and partly through his game against the 1960 Springboks, recognised as one of the dirtiest matches of all time. Cardiff lost 13-0 and Hayward reputedly threw the opening punch, although the "Boks" threw a good deal more. Hayward was trampled on and had one arm hanging loosely and totally unusable from the first quarter.

His Wales début came finally, two months short of his 29th birthday, against England at Cardiff in 1963. The pitch was frozen and Wales were beaten 13-6 as Richard Sharp tore Hayward apart, though he did score the lone Wales try in the final minute as he fell over from a lineout. Next came New Zealand and, sadly, Hayward gave away a penalty for offside and was later defeated by a side-step for a drop goal - the only two scores of a 6-0 loss. He had earlier led his club to a 6-5 defeat by the All Blacks.

In 1964 he played in the wins over Scotland and Ireland and a draw against France, before joining in the first-ever Wales tour abroad. They visited South Africa, but were no match for a Springbok side that won 24-3 at Durban.

Hayward took the part of coach of the East Wales side in 1967 that drew 3-3 with New Zealand and after seasons as a committeeman, became club chairman of Cardiff in 1985-86.

His contributions to club programmes were in his own witty style and for several years he also worked as a journalist whilst living in Bridgend.

Howard Evans