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Stack's mate Jan Webster
old prop steve (IP Logged)
08 February, 2019 10:36
Many of you will have seen the reports of Jan Webster's untimely death in your papers or on the internet.

Whenever Stack went on any of his tours Jan was a special friend who kept up with the Stevens family right up to the end. When England beat both South Africa in Johannesburg and New Zealand in Auckland they didnt have officail 'Man of the Match' awards but on both occasions Webster was the stand out star.

By today's standards he was tiny (about 5' 5") and even then his nickname was 'Sprat'. He seemed to be to be like a mud-stained cross between a rubber ball and Jack Russell terrier. Big forwards would charge through and rough him up savagely and he would just bounce up as if nothing had happened.

When I went to see him while researching the book on Stack he not only talked for hours enthusiastically about Stack and Cornwall and its rugby generally but he then lent me all his precious personal scrapbooks for a couple of months - to me as someone whom he of course had never heard of yet was prepared to trust instinctively. I was very touched by that.

When he was a schoolboy he not only played for England Schoolboys - I watched him win a game at the old Cardiff Arms Park against Wales Under 19 virtually on his own - but he was a good enough footballer to be on the books of Aston Villa. Fortunately he chose rugby.

The England selectors could never quite make their minds up about whether to choose Jan or Steve Smith from Sale who had a slightly longer pass and was probably a quicker runner with the ball and the little indestructible rubber ball who seemed to almost relish being behind a pack on the back foot and still contriving to make things happen. As a result Sprat never got the ultimate call for the British Lions but, had he done so, he would have revelled in it.

He seemed very fit, still very active, not a pound heavier and was still working with a print firm in his native Walsall so his death is a shock.


Re: Stack's mate Jan Webster
*Stalwart (IP Logged)
08 February, 2019 11:50
Thanks for that Steve. RIP Jan Webster.

Re: Stack's mate Jan Webster
Eastanglianpirate (IP Logged)
08 February, 2019 15:35
I hadn't heard but it is sad news. I remember him well back in the days when Moseley provided several England players. He was particularly small but until the likes of Terry Holmes came along they all were - when rugby was a game for all shapes and sizes. I can't remember what shape props were!

Re: Stack's mate Jan Webster
tomthepom (IP Logged)
08 February, 2019 16:35
Jan W & Stack S were in the XV for my 1st international seen at 'HQ' v NZ in Jan '73. Can't believe my Old Man took a lad aged 6.5 to a game, bless him! Sad news, nice memories...

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