Gareth Owen Edwards CBE (born 12 July 1947 in Pontardawe, Wales) is a former Welsh rugby union footballer who plays scrum-half, considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of the game.
In the 2007 New Years Honours List, Edwards was made a CBE for services to sport.
Edwards was a miner's son from Gwaun-cae-Gurwen. He won a scholarship to the elite Millfield Public School.
He first played for Wales in 1967 at the age of 19. Between 1967 and 1978 Edwards won 53 caps for Wales, including 13 as captain. All his caps were won in succession; he never had a dip in form or an injury that would allow anybody else to take his place.
He is Wales' youngest ever captain, gaining his first captaincy at the age of 20. During his era the Welsh side dominated the Five Nations Championship, winning the title seven times, including three grand slams.
He also played ten times for the British Lions, playing for the legendary 1971 Lions team that was the only such team to win a series in New Zealand and for the unbeaten 1974 side in South Africa.
Edwards was blessed with extreme pace and married this with strength, agility and guile, scoring twenty tries in internationals. His try for the Barbarians against the All Blacks in 1973 at Cardiff Arms Park, often referred to simply as 'that try', is commonly said to be the greatest ever and is available to view on the Barbarians Website. The move starts with a deep kick from the New Zealand fullback. The ball drops from up high towards the tiny Phil Bennett near to his own goal line and facing the entire New Zealand team, arguably one of the greatest teams assembled (in itself). Bennett side-stepped and evaded two tackles, offloaded the ball to JPR Williams, passing through four other pairs of hands (Pullin, Dawes, David and Quinell) before Edwards finished it with a diving score in the left-hand corner.
Cliff Morgan's now legendary commentary of the try describes it thus: "Kirkpatrick to Williams. This is great stuff. Phil Bennett covering, chased by Alistair Scown. Brilliant! Oh, that's brilliant! John Williams, Pullin, John Dawes. Great dummy! David, Tom David, the half-way line. Brilliant by Quinnell. This is Gareth Edwards. A dramatic start. What a score!"
When he wrote his autobiography he was branded a 'professional' and was prevented from coaching or being involved in any way with the sport of rugby union.
In a poll of international rugby players conducted in 2003 by Rugby World magazine, Edwards was declared the greatest player of all time. Surprisingly, Edwards has admitted that All Black scrum-half Sid Going most likely got the better of him over their seven encounters, "As I say, he was the best I played against and, yes, he probably had the edge on me in the games we played". Edwards does however think that the pack Going was playing behind may have helped, "..I wouldn't have minded playing with the back row the All Blacks had...then Sid might not have come out on top".
He now commentates on the game for the BBC and S4C, commentating for the latter in Welsh, his mother tongue. A statue of Gareth Edwards stands in the St David's shopping centre, Cardiff.