Barbarians vs New Zealand, 1973
|Event||1972–73 New Zealand rugby union tour|
|Date||27 January 1973|
|Venue||National Stadium, Cardiff|
|Referee||G. Domercq (France)|
Barbarians v New Zealand was a 1973 rugby union match between the Barbarians and New Zealand. It was played as part of the 1972–73 New Zealand tour of Britain, Ireland, France and North America. The game featured what has been described as "the greatest try ever scored". It was scored by Gareth Edwards. It is widely considered one of the best tries ever scored in high level rugby union. The Barbarians won the game 23–11. It was also the first time New Zealand lost to the Barbarians.
The greatest try ever scored
In the second minute of the game New Zealand winger Bryan Williams kicked the ball towards Phil Bennett, near his goal line. Bennett sidestepped and evaded three tackles, in turn passing the ball to JPR Williams, who managed to offload the ball after Bryan Williams had tackled him around the neck. The ball then passed through four pairs of hands (Pullin, Dawes, David and Quinnell) before Edwards, slipping between two team-mates and seemingly intercepting the last pass, finished with a diving try in the left-hand corner (29 seconds later).
The commentary itself is sometimes described as the greatest ever, although it very nearly didn't happen because until just 2 hours before the match Bill McLaren was due to commentate; but he was recovering from 'flu so Cliff Morgan was called in at the last minute. Morgan commentated the try:
Kirkpatrick to Williams. This is great stuff. Phil Bennett covering. Chased by Alistair Scown. Brilliant! Oh, that's brilliant! John Williams, Bryan Williams. Pullin. John Dawes, great dummy. To David, Tom David, the half-way line! Brilliant by Quinnell! This is Gareth Edwards! A dramatic start! What a score! Oh, that fellow Edwards!
A moment later, at the restart, he added,
If the greatest writer of the written word would have written that story, no one would have believed it. That really was something.
Often known simply as "that try", the try is frequently mentioned as the greatest ever scored or one of the greatest. In a UK poll conducted by Channel 4 in 2002, Edwards's try was voted number 20 in the list of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments. The 40th anniversary of the try sparked renewed interest.
The Barbarians had tries nearly scored by John Bevan and then John Dawes. David Duckham showed his skills in possibly his best UK performance, before more tries were scored by Fergus Slattery and John Bevan to make the halftime score 17-0. Grant Batty scored two tries in reply before JPR Williams completed the try-scoring.
27 January 1973
|Edwards (4 – 1t)
Slattery (4 – 1t)
Bevan (4 – 1t)
Williams (4 – 1t)
Bennett (7 – 2c, 1pg)
|Report||(8 – 2t) Batty |
(3 – 1pg) Karam
The Barbarians coach was Carwyn James, who was always noted as seeking to encourage his teams to play attacking rugby.
- "The greatest try ever scored?". BBC. 26 January 2013.
- Gallagher, Brendan (4 December 2009). "Barbarians v New Zealand '73 - the greatest try of them all". Daily Telegraph.
- "International Matches". Barbarianfc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010.
- Gallagher, Brendan (3 December 2009). "Barbarians v New Zealand: the greatest commentary that never was". Daily Telegraph.
- "100 Greatest Sporting Moments - Results". Channel 4. 2002. Archived from the original on 15 January 2002.
- Morgan, Cliff (25 January 2013). "Cliff Morgan salutes 'greatest try' when Gareth Edwards scored for Barbarians against All Blacks in 1973". Daily Telegraph.