Welsh Rugby September 1975

Reproduced from the 'Welsh Rugby' magazine September 1975. 'Welsh Rugby' was a magazine that ran from January 1961 to Summer of 1983. Originally published as 'Rugger Sport' the magazine changed its name in the mid 1960s to Welsh Rugby.

What words can really convey the depth of devotion that man can give to the cause of Welsh rugby or in the case of the new president, Handel Rogers, to the cause of international rugby. As liaison officer for many touring clubs and countries this is one man that strikes a cause for peace throughout the world and his organising flair for the big occasions is the chief asset that has brought him into contact throughout the world where rugby is played.

Llanelli and Wales give full credit to a man whose ambition for season 1975/76 is the winning of all matches in Japan, defeat of the Australians and, to crown a wonderful year of office, the winning of the Grand Slam.

When speaking of a man of this calibre it should always follow that this is only achieved through the support of his wife, Doreen, who like many other wives are "rugby widows" who never complain and indeed are the real inspiration that spur their menfolk to greater heights.

Michael Samuel writes of him:-

Doreen and Handel Rogers"A man born to lead. Handel Rogers, the new president of the Welsh Rugby Union, is a man that has devoted his life to the cause of rugby football. He is a man that seems to smile his charming way through life.

"No doubt that his experience in that awful Llandow air disaster has had a great effect on his entire outlook. Eighty people died when an aircraft bringing supporters back from the Triple Crown triumph in Ireland crashed on 12th March, 1950. Handel Rogers was one of three survivors, his love of rugby had brought him close to death and left him determined to pack as much as possible into life.

"Born in 1916 of a Llanelli ship chandling family, Handel Rogers started his schooling at the Copperworks School where the headmaster was the late Captain D.H. Thomas, a great rugby man who served on the Welsh Rugby Union for many years and was president in 1960-61. Handel then went to that hotbed of remarkable rugby talent – Llanelli Grammar School. He played in the front row or second row where two of his contemporaries were Bill Clement and Harry Davies, a well known journalist with the Evening Post.

"He played for the Llanelli Quins and during the War joined the R.A.F. After the War he returned home to the shipping business and his interest in rugby turned to the administrative side. He was invited to join the Llanelli committee and in 1952 became vice-chairman to chairman and close friend Dr Noel Rees; Sid Williams was secretary and Ron Harries was treasurer. Those were difficult times for the famous Scarlets. Gates were precariously low, finances were not healthy and when the opportunity arose for the club to purchase Stradey Park at a real bargain price, the man who came to their rescue was Mr Joseph Rolph.

"In 1954, Handel was elected chairman and also served as secretary from 1962-68 and was made a life member in 1960. This was the year which he succeeded Hopkin Thomas on the Welsh Rugby Union. Between 1964 and 1970 he became Welsh Rugby Union liaison officer for incoming touring teams with the Fijians in 1964, the Australians in 1967, the 1968 All Blacks, the 1969 Springboks, to New Zealand with Wales in 1969, and so on.

"Very few people realise the importance of the man behind the scene, the man whose task it is to ensure that all goes well with the minimum of fuss and bother when touring parties from other countries visit our shores. What has Handel Rogers got which gives him the capacity for the job? The simple answer is TACT and the ability to get on well with players, officials, the press and the public.

Handel Rogers and Ellis Stanbury"This is his secret of success. Not only is he involved with rugby, but is also in the world of bowls, for in 1973 he became president of the Welsh Bowling Association and last March he became the present of the British Bowling Association.

"This month he will accompany the Welsh team to Japan and renew his close friendship with the members of the Japanese administrators and players who recently toured Wales. His tremendous record of service to Welsh rugby has earned him the highest honour that Welsh rugby can bestow on anyone – that of the Presidency of the Union.

"Handel has other commitments as well. He has been president of the New Dock Stars Rugby Club since 1962, he served for six years on the Llanelli Harbour Trust and is past secretary and president of the Rotary Club and only a few weeks ago he was made a life member of Carmarthenshire County Rugby.

"In addition to all this, Handel is a family man and his wife Doreen, son Steve and daughter Helen all share the interests of this man who is so dedicated to serving his fellow rugby enthusiasts."