Obituary: Geoffrey Rees-Jones ; Welsh Rugby International Whose Two Tries against New Zealand Made History
Evans, Howard, The Independent (London, England)
ONE OF the players who helped make Welsh pre-war rugby history, Geoffrey Rees-Jones, just like his England counterpart Prince Alexander Obolensky, became known as the man whose two tries defeated the 1935 New Zealand tourists. On 21 December that year, Rees-Jones collected his brace in a 13-12 Wales win and 14 days later Obolensky collected two as England won 13-0. Neither man ever scored another international try.
Geoffrey Rippon Rees-Jones was born in 1914 in Ipswich of Welsh parents. His father became a senior history teacher and his two sons were educated at Ipswich School. Geoffrey went on to University College, Oxford, reading Mathematics and Physics and gaining rugby Blues in 1933, 1934 and 1935, in which time Oxford won 5-3, lost 3- 28 and drew 0-0.
Rees-Jones joined London Welsh and won his first Wales cap against England in a 1934 loss, but did play in a victory over Scotland. In 1935 he only appeared against Ireland in the Championship, but appeared in the Middlesex Sevens final as his club lost to the Harlequins 10-3.
In the New Zealand Test at Cardiff, Wales were 3-0 down at the interval until Rees-Jones cross-kicked for Claude Davey to score and then he went over after a break by Wilfred Wooller. New Zealand again led at 12-10 until two minutes from time, when another brilliant Wooller run and kick saw the ball elude both Wooller and the New Zealand full-back Mike Gilbert on the icy pitch. As they fell into the straw, Rees-Jones caught the ball and dived over for the winning score.
He played in just one more international, his fifth, against Obolensky, in a 0-0 draw at Swansea in 1936, then he played a bit of cricket for the Cryptics and the Gentlemen of Suffolk, and rugby for the Eastern Counties, before becoming a schoolteacher. …