Rugby Player - Ammanford, Neath, Swansea, Llanelli & Amman Utd, 

Rugby Coach - Welsh Youth, Llanelli & Swansea

Welsh Rugby Union President 1991-2

Ieuan Morlais Evans was born in Betws in the Amman Valley, Carmarthenshire. His parents were Evan “Ianto” Evans, a miner and prominent trade unionist, and his wife, Mary Lizzie. Along with politics and music, Ieuan’s early passion was for the round ball until he was called up to serve in the RAF, where he was press-ganged by a senior officer into making up the numbers for a rugby match. The rest is, as they say, history.

Educated at Amman Valley Grammar School and Ammanford Mining and Technical College, Ieuan obtained his teaching certificate and Diploma in Physical Education after the war at City of Cardiff Teacher Training College, where he won college colours in cricket and tennis as well as football and rugby. His career as a schoolmaster, from 1948 until he retired in 1980, was combined with playing and coaching commitments which could, by anybody’s standards, be described as full-on but unremunerated, in accordance with the amateur code of the time. From 1947-49, he played at centre for Neath, and thereafter made appearances for Llanelli and Swansea. He completed his playing career at his local club, Amman United RFC (1952-1958), where, in 1953, he led the side to victory in the West Wales Championship. Between 1946 and 1956 he made over fifty appearances for the West Wales Representative XV, along with his brother-in-law Gwyn Jones, one of the four fabled Jones brothers of Penybanc.

His coaching career was already underway in 1949, with schools and local youth rugby. In 1963. he was appointed to the newly-created post of national coach of the Welsh Youth Rugby Union, where he developed the likes of Phil Bennett, Ray Gravell, Derek Quinnell and countless other talented young men who had until then been ill-served by the organisational gap between schools and senior rugby. These men would go on to lead their clubs, and Wales to glory, and Ieuan looked on youth rugby as perhaps the most satisfying of his achievements, taking especial pleasure in his Life Presidency of Amman Valley Youth.

From 1967-1969, he was coach of Llanelli, and handed on to his great friend, the late Carwyn James, who succeeded him there, a squad in fine shape which would famously go on to claim victory against the All Blacks in 1972. Between 1970-1976, he turned around the fortunes of Swansea RFC, coaching the team to the top of the Merit Table in 1974, the club’s centenary year. His self-stated priorities were speed, power, stamina, strength and mobility (all who knew him would add strict discipline to that list), his goals “to win and entertain with a totality of effort and skill”*  

In 1976, he was elected to the Welsh Rugby Union as a national representative and his fifteen years of service to the administrative side of the game coincided with interesting times. In summary, he represented his district, was appointed Chairman of the WRU National Coaching and Laws Committee (1976-1982), chaired the project team which prepared the Investigative Report of 1985 into the state of the game in Wales, and progressed to the presidency of the Union in 1991/2. In fact, this was one of the most turbulent and controversial periods in the history of Welsh rugby, embracing the  inevitable and, for some, unacceptable prospect of the professional game, the formation of the IRB, and the 1989 South Africa Centenary fiasco. A passionate and lifelong opponent of apartheid, his views were not universally shared but his conscience was always clear.

In 1982, he was admitted to the Gorsedd of the Welsh National Eisteddfod, for services to Welsh Rugby, taking the bardic name of  “Ieuan Morlais”.

Ieuan Evans died at his home in Garnant in 2000, aged 80.

* Swansea RFC Centenary Publication  - text by Janet Wynne Evans




45-ammanford.jpg (147687 bytes) 45-b.jpg (142695 bytes) Illustrated is a copy of the Ammanford v Abercrave 1948 West Wales Cup 1st round programme. It shows Ieuan captaining the Ammanford team from the centre. 



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The earliest record we can find of Ieuan playing for Neath is on the 13th March 1948. He also appears on the season photograph for that year so it's obvious that he has transferred his allegiance to the All Blacks. We also find him playing for Neath against London Welsh on 21st February 1953 which suggests a 5 year career at the Gnoll. However, in between these dates we find him appearing for Llanelli & the West Wales Rugby Union XV under the club Ammanford. 

If anyone can help with a clearer picture of Ieuan's playing career at Neath please CLICK HERE to email us with the details.  



41-wwru.jpg (107562 bytes) 41-b.jpg (283731 bytes) Ieuan appeared on several occasions for the West Wales Rugby Union XV, composite side made up of players from the West Wales Rugby league. On this occasion he his playing in a memorial fund match at Pontardawe against a Rowe Harding XV made up of mostly Swansea players. 



43-llanelli.jpg (204530 bytes) 43-ll.jpg (108488 bytes) Illustrated left is the Aberavon v Llanelli programme from the 19th April 1950. Partnering Ieuan in the centre is G Treharne, possibly Gwilym Treharne who was to precede Ieuan as WRU President in 1990/1. Aberavon were victorious in this match by 9 points to 3.   



43-swansea.jpg (202461 bytes) 43-b.jpg (117595 bytes) Although appearing for the West Wales RU in this programme, it is known that Ieuan did play for Swansea. Interestingly in this match he is again partnered by G Treharne and another two Greville & Stone of the players who played for Llanelli against Aberavon in 1950. 
57.jpg (170346 bytes) Swansea v Coventry 17th November 1951. This match again finds Ieuan with his name spelt wrongly in the Swansea team, again he's playing alongside Handel Greville, a former captain of Llanelli (1948/9). A month later Grevellie is appearing for the Whites against the touring Springboks but unfortunately Ieuan does not appear in the side on this occasion.  



Amman United RFC 1953/4, Ieuan Morlais Evans, pictured above the West Wales Championship shield. 



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Ieuan on coaching, from the Swansea RFC Centenary publication. 

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A brief biography from the Amman Utd history



(Dave Evans recalls..............................

Ieuan coached me as a school player for Penyrheol (Gorseinon, Swansea) in the 1970s where he worked as a PE and Maths teacher. He was, as you’d guess a very influential coach, ahead of his time. Our school did boast to have I believe 3 or 4 Welsh schoolboy caps during his tenure. He coached our year group from under 13s up to school senior team. 

He has influenced my coaching to this day at our local club in Warwickshire.

His legacy is timeless even in todays game.

Kind Regards  -  Dave Evans

Dave continues at a later date....................

Here is a rather blurry photo of our Penyrheol school year team probably circa 1974/5.
I will dig out the original and do a higher resolution scan of it. I took this from a FB page we have for old school friends.
I am far left middle row sitting.
Ieuan typically sporting his ‘Tam o shanter’ flat cap and wearing his WRFU coaches tracksuit top.
Jeremy Evans holding the ball as captain and under 16 Welsh cap.
There are another two or three players in that photo who reached ‘first class level’ playing for Llanelli and Maesteg.

Then, a more recent of my U13s Harbury RFC team in Warwickshire. I am far right standing, my youngest son, Ioan is standing at the back, above and right of the kneeling guy.

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Janet Wynne Evans, Dai Richards (World Rugby Museum), Amman Utd RFC, Dave Evans, Warwickshire. 


Thank you for visiting this page. If you are able to contribute any other stories, photos or information to this page, please CLICK HERE to email us.





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In 2011 Rugby Relics purchased some of the memorabilia from the Ieuan Morlais Evans collection. The family felt it fitting that the monies raised for the collection should go towards the development of young rugby players in the Amman Valley. They have donated the complete proceeds of the sale to the Amman Valley Youth XV, a team that is inspired and organised by the great Welsh winger Shane Williams. Please see the links below for the pages on the Rugby Relics website containing Ieuan Morlais Evans memorabilia.



Badges & pins from the Ieuan Morlais Evans collection are available to purchase on the Rugby Relics website. Included are several rare international badges including Brazil, Morocco & Sweden. To view these please...................




Ieuan Morlais Evans played for Neath, Swansea & Llanelli in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He is best known however as a coach being the first appointed to the Welsh Youth team in 1962. As a club coach he laid the foundation at Llanelli for Carwyn James before moving onto local rivals Swansea. During the 1991/2 season he was President of the Welsh Rugby Union. For more information on Ieuan Morlais Evans please............  CLICK HERE

We have available to purchase ties from the Ieuan Morlais Evans collection, added today are the second batch of ties, elsh international and Welsh international age group ties. To view the Welsh international ties of Ieuan Morlais Evans please...................