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Jan Webster: Tributes paid after former England rugby player dies

By Thomas Parkes | Walsall | News | Published:

Tributes have been paid to a former England rugby player who hailed from Walsall.

Jan Webster, pictured in 1973, played scrum half for England. Photo: Ken Kelly

Jan Webster, who was a scrum half for the team, died after having a heart attack on Wednesday.

The player, who earned 11 caps for England between 1972 and 1975, was instrumental in England's first ever win against South Africa on their home soul – as well as their first defeat of the All Blacks in New Zealand.

The Queen's Mary Grammar School student also toured the Far East with the team in 1971, scoring two tries.

The 72-year-old began and ended his rugby career with Walsall Rugby Club.

He was educated at City of Birmingham College of Commerce. He was captain and later President of Moseley and was part of the Staffordshire County Cup winning side, as well as featuring for the Barbarians.

Former England captain and World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: "Everyone in rugby who knew Jan, and all of us who played alongside him, like John Pullin, Roger Uttley, Fran Cotton, Chris Ralston and Tony Neary, will be tremendously saddened by his death.

“I played with Jan in my debut against Ireland in 1975, and his skills at scrum half were remarkable. He was a tremendous rugby man, an outstanding club man for Moseley, much loved and respected and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are very much with his family.”

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A spokeswoman for Walsall Rugby Club said: "Jan has been a huge part of our club for over 50 years as a player, captain, active member, running the club shop, coach to many players, with words of wisdom for all. He always found the positive in everybody he dealt with from the youngest player to the oldest.

"A true gentleman and rugby legend, he will be sorely missed by his many friends."

At 5ft 5ins and an early proponent of the tap-and go style of play, he was renowned for his pace and fearless tackling.

Birmingham Moseley president Peter Hill said: "The news of Jan's passing has rocked our club and saddened us all.

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"In 2002 when Moseley was in danger of going out of existence Jan answered the call by doing a four-year stint as president.

"His tremendous interpersonal skills were used to great effect in helping to put the club back onto a stable footing.

"He will be remembered as much for this as for his outstanding play, which make him one of the true Moseley greats in the club's long history.”

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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