It was with great sadness that Newport RFC learned of the death of former player and coach John Ryan, following a long and courageous battle against a serious illness.
John arrived at Rodney Parade as a Welsh Secondary School flanker from the Newport High School in 1959 and stayed until 1962 before transferring due to work commitments to London Welsh at Old Deer Park from where he also played for the Civil Service and Middlesex County.
He became coach of Newport in 1973/74 and stayed until 1978 and with the help of a number of senior players transformed the club back to its original glories. Who will ever forget (I know because I was there!) the smile on Colin Smart’s face in April 1977 when lifting the Schweppes Challenge Cup high above his head following victory over those ‘Blue & Black B……’ from down the A48.
John then joined Cardiff as a coach in 1978 and achieved the same feat for the Blue & Blacks and was the only coach to have won the trophy with two different clubs.
‘Buck’ as he was affectionally known in the rugby world, coached the Wales 7’s and in 1988 became the only ‘non-international’ player to have coached our national team.
A true rugby man, he will be sadly missed. The sympathy of everyone at Newport RFC is extended to his family.
RIP Buck and thanks for all of those Black & Amber memories.
Brian ‘BJ’ Jones – Newport RFC President