He played an integral part in a golden era of Welsh rugby, toured New Zealand with the British & Irish Lions and went on to become a dual-code international.

Now, at the age of 70, Wales great Steve Fenwick has committed a wealth of wonderful memories to paper in his autobiography, Dragons and Lions: My Life in Rugby.

In the book, Fenwick recounts his days playing for the national team alongside the likes of Gareth Edwards, Phil Bennett, JPR Williams and centre partner Ray Gravell.

Fenwick was pivotal to the four Five Nations titles, two Grand Slams and four Triple Crowns that Wales won between 1975, the year he made his debut, and 1979.

Wales were the dominant force in northern hemisphere rugby during the 1970s, playing with a style that is still revered all these years later.

The National Wales:

Fenwick scoring for Wales at Landsdowne Road in 1978

And Fenwick, who played club rugby for Taffs Well, Beddau, Aberavon and most famously Bridgend, made a huge contribution to the legacy that generation left.

“I had thought about doing an autobiography for years but never went through with it,” Fenwick said from his home in Caerphilly.

“Then one day I was sat in the pub with a couple of mates reminiscing about the old days and they said ‘why don’t you write it all down in a book?’, so that’s what happened.

“I thought that if I didn’t do it now then I would probably never do it.

“My memory is pretty good, although I did have to check some things with those who were there, but I got it all together in the end.”

He continued: “When I was picked for Wales and the likes of JPR, Gareth, Phil, Grav and JJ Williams were in the squad, I thought ‘How am I going to fit in?’

“Two years earlier I was a student watching those guys playing from the terraces, and then I found myself among them

“I was having kittens at the thought of playing for Wales, and we had six new caps for my debut against France, but John Dawes (coach) was very good to me.

“He said I’d been picked to play for a reason and told me to do what I did when I played for Bridgend, and I didn’t have to change my game to fit in.

“I couldn’t wait to set foot on the field in Paris because if anything else had happened after it, nobody could take that Wales cap away from me.

“I scored a try after four minutes and we went on to win 25-10.

“It seemed like a new era started after that win in France, and we had this confidence because there were so many good players in the team.

“Even if you were having a tough day, the guy next to you was going to do something special that could change a game in a second.”

When asked about moments and players that stand out, one magical try in Murrayfield and a certain full-back immediately spring to mind.

“The try most people talk about was the one scored by Phil Bennett against Scotland in 1977,” he said. “It was voted Wales’ best try ever last year.

“We had been defending in our own 22 for about 10 minutes when the ball came back to Gerald Davies.

“Despite being on the back foot, Gerald had the confidence to start running with the ball.

“When he did, I thought there was something on and I’d better get up in support, and I had to give a really quick pass to Phil before he went under the posts.”

The National Wales:

Fenwick playing alongside legendary full-back JPR Williams at Bridgend

He added: “It’s difficult to pick the best player I played with but if pushed I’d have to say JPR.

“He had this amazing mental attitude and you never thought you were going to lose with him in the team.

“When we played together at Bridgend, he would come up to me and say we were going to change the course of the game in the next five minutes.

“I thought he was having a laugh but he was totally serious and nine out of 10 times he would do something that changed the game.

“He wouldn’t give in for anything, his tackling was fantastic and his attacking skills were great.”

While Wales were calling the shots in the Five Nations, they were never able to get the better of the All Blacks – no Welsh team has beaten the Kiwis since 1953.

Fenwick came up against them on several occasions, in both the red of Wales and the Lions, and he doesn’t have too many happy memories of the encounters.

“We were unlucky on the Lions tour in 1977,” he said. “We lost the series 3-1 but would have drawn it had the ball not dropped straight into Lawrie Knight’s hands for him to score late in the last Test.

“We were as good as them and happy with the tour apart from losing the series.

“It was a fabulous experience, and I could have gone to South Africa in 1980 but for the business I had with Tom David.”

A year after the Lions, Wales were poised to end their 25-year wait for a win over the All Blacks, until one of the most infamous incidents in the history of international rugby.

Trailing with just minutes to go, New Zealand locks Andy Haden and Frank Oliver dived out of a lineout, hoodwinking English referee Roger Quittenton into awarding a penalty that won the match.

“I think it was the first time I had seen tactics that people use in football in rugby,” said Fenwick.

“They dived for a penalty and got away with it. I still don’t think I could do that, I just couldn’t.

“The referee said he gave the penalty because Geoff Wheel committed an offence at the front of the lineout.

“If that was the case, why was the guy at the back of the lineout diving?”

The National Wales:

Fenwick, who turned 70 earlier this year, has put his memories on paper

Former teacher Fenwick was tempted into switching codes in the early 1980s and played rugby league for Cardiff City Blue Dragons and Wales, before retiring after suffering a serious knee injury.

“I moan and groan about rugby these days,” said father-of-two Fenwick. “I enjoy a couple of pints with my mates down the pub and we have a property in Cyprus we rent out.

“Making my Wales debut was a dream come true and then standing on the Arms Park pitch for my first home international was something else.

“Doing this book has brought back a lot of great memories and I hope people will enjoy reading about them.”

Dragons and Lions, written with Craig Muncey, is available from all booksellers, while copies signed by Fenwick are available from the publishers via st-davids-press.wales