TRIBUTES have been paid to one of Carmarthenshire's all-time rugby greats, former Wales and British and Irish Lions full-back Terry Davies MBE, who has passed away at the age of 88.

Davies, from Llwynhendy, played more than 150 games for Llanelli RFC, won 21 caps for Wales and represented the Lions on the 1959 tour to New Zealand and Australia, finishing the New Zealand leg of the trip as the leading points-scorer.

He played for Llanelli between 1956 and 1961 and was described as Wales’ first "superstar full-back."

Davies also played 13 matches for the Barbarians invitational side, touring Canada and South Africa; was part of a combined Wales and England team that played Scotland and Ireland at Twickenham in 1959 and also played 53 games for Swansea RFC before joining Llanelli.

He remained involved with the Scarlets club as a long-time supporter and member of the Llanelli Former Players Association.

Scarlets President Phil Bennett, the legendary Wales fly half, said: “When I was a young boy I was lucky enough to see Terry play at his peak.

"He was a hero of mine, a local Bynea boy, but a player with a real aura about him. He could tackle, goal-kick, break the line, he was an outstanding player.

“Watching him play in a star-studded Llanelli backline was something I will always remember, particularly in the big derby games against Swansea.

“The word great is often overused, but Terry was one of the greats and I got to know him well as a friend after finishing playing.

"I had nothing but admiration for the man. My thoughts are with Terry’s family and friends.”

Gareth Edwards, another Wales legend, has described how he used to run onto Stradey Park as a schoolboy in search of Davies’ autograph.

Writing the foreword to Davies’ book, The Terry Davies Story, the former scrum-half said: “As kids at the end of games, you had a wonderful opportunity, especially down at Stradey Park, to run onto the field and try to get an autograph. I can remember, vividly, getting Terry’s.

“It was a wonderful experience as he was someone who stood out for me from a lot of exceptional players who were around at that time.”

Davies was inducted into Welsh Rugby’s Hall of Fame in 2008 and in 2013 he was awarded an MBE for services to the communities of Bynea and Llanelli.

Scarlets General Manager of Rugby Jon Daniels said: “Terry will be remembered as a Scarlets great, a phenomenal player who reached the pinnacle of the sport when he represented the Lions in 1959.

“I was fortunate to get to know Terry well; he maintained an active interest in the club, he was a great character, a well-known figure in the town and a real gent.

“The club have recently installed a ‘legends wall’ outside the home changing room at Parc y Scarlets and Terry is up there among our greatest players.

“The sympathies of everyone at the Scarlets are with Terry’s wife Gillian and his family at this sad time.”

Davies, having been admitted to hospital at the turn of the year, passed away on Thursday,

His son Richard said: “You would not wish to have a better dad. He was good-natured and supportive all the way.

“He did loads of work for Llanelli, for the Scarlets, for Bynea, for the village he lived in.

"He grew up in the village and built a house there. He raised money for community projects and was awarded an MBE for his services to Bynea and Llanelli.

"He was just a fantastic father and a fantastic guy."