OPM Tribute to Howell Phillips
It is with great sadness that OPM RFC would like to add a tribute to the recent passing of Howell Phillips. The rugby community has paused in respect to a man who provided so much to both the local school and club rugby community and dedicated his life to improving players of all levels and standards.
Many will know Howell’s no nonsense approach to coaching, meticulous in his style and with the fantastic Welsh tones that ensured you knew if he was happy (or not!) with what you had done on the training or playing pitch. With that though, there was always a terrific drive to improve individuals and the team as a whole and there will certainly be not one player who wouldn’t have undertaken a place and face drill, his signature for all grades of rugby. The Plabannec tour lives long in the memory with 40 tourists donning bald caps and doing ‘place and face’ drills to the bewildered Frenchmen whilst allowing the Team to work down the pitch and allow Rhys to score an epic try!!!
Howell coached OPMs in the mid-2000s ensuring that the players and club developed and improved so he has a close link with the club and many of the more senior players, past and present. His son, Rhys, was one of the original ‘Young Bucks’ of the South Africa Tour and is still a regular player today and is his granddaughter who is now in the OPM Junior U6s. Rhys has been involved since the initial news that Howell had become unwell, with a huge array of charity events and fundraising activities including the huge success of the charity rugby match in Howell’s honour and his recent Triple H challenge which in itself was a fantastic achievement and ode to a great man.
Howell’s love for rugby; be it national, regional or local was second to none and inspiring to watch. Even in the last year and before the COVID pandemic, Howell would be brought down in his wheelchair come rain or shine, to watch Rhys and the boys play and enjoy a well-earned pint (especially after having to watch some of our games!) in the bar afterwards.
To a terrific man who loved the game, his family and all things Welsh. We would like to extend the OPM family condolences to Rhys, Gillian, Bethan and all of the Phillips family and as always offer to provide any support we can at this difficult time. As we are unable to play matches currently, a minutes silence will be held for Howell at our next training session to pay our respects from the OPM Family.
A fantastic man and sure we will see you at the bar one day again.
OPM Chairman and from all of the OPM Committee and Family