Dr Thomas Hudson (1935-2023)

Rob LloydNews

Scarlets are saddened to learn of the passing of Dr Thomas Hudson, our former fitness coach, at the age of 88.

Having represented Great Britain as a modern pentathlete at the 1956 Summer Olympics, Tom was appointed fitness coach at Llanelli RFC in 1966.

He revolutionised training methods at the club and players talk fondly of how he brought a new ‘professionalism’ to the environment, which helped pave the way for the historic victory over the All Blacks at Stradey Park in 1972.

In 1973 Tom became the first ever Director of Sport at Bath University. Whilst working at University of Bath in the early 1980s, Tom teamed up with Jack Rowell and Dave Robson at Bath Rugby to form a hugely respected management team that steered the West Country club through a period of unparalleled success. 

He was inducted into Bath’s off-pitch Hall of Fame in 2018.

Scarlets President Derek Quinnell, who played in that All Blacks match in ’72, paid tribute to Tom, saying: “He was a huge inspiration. Our committee men Peter Rees and Handel Greville had the foresight to bring Tom in and he made an impact from the first day he was here.

“I remember the first time he spoke to the squad. He said the next time we were here we all had to be ready to go at 6.30, nothing later. He also told us to bring our boots, our spikes and our plimsolls. Now, none of the boys knew what plimsolls were because we all called them daps! We soon found out, every mile we ran away from Stradey, to Pwll, to Burry Port was another mile back! He made a huge difference to the fitness of the squad, not just the younger generation, but the older players as well. Norman Gale had a superb final season of his career because of the fitness he did with Tom.

“Obviously, that work we did with Tom played a big part in us beating the All Blacks in 1972 and when he left us to join Bath University, he went on to have a similar impact with Bath, alongside Jack Rowell. 

“The thoughts of us all at the Scarlets are with Tom’s family and friends at this sad time.”

Picture: PA Sport