Barbarians vs New Zealand, 1973

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Barbarians v New Zealand
The National Stadium The Arms Park Cardiff.jpg
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.[1][2] The Barbarians won the game 23–11.[3] 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 over the head of Phil Bennett, who ran back to pick it up near his goal line. With nearly the entire length of the field between him and the New Zealand goal line, Bennett started upfield by sidestepping and evading 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. Still deep in the Barbarians' end of the field, the ball then passed through four pairs of Barbarian hands (Pullin, Dawes, David and Quinnell) heading upfield before Edwards, slipping between two team-mates and seemingly intercepting the last pass, finished with a diving try in the left-hand corner, 22 seconds after Bennett picked up the ball.

Barbarians coach Carwyn James is credited with man management to stimulate Bennett to make sidestepping runs that day.[4]

The game is one I will never forget and those of us who played in it will never be allowed to forget. It is a match that will live with me forever. People tend only to remember the first four minutes of the game because of the try, but what they forgot is the great deal of good rugby played afterwards, much of which came from the All Blacks. After the success of the 1971 Lions tour, which captured the imagination of the whole country, it was an opportunity to bring a lot of that side together again.

Gareth Edwards


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.[5] 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.

Poll standings

Often known simply as "that try",[6] the try is frequently mentioned as the greatest ever scored[7] or one of the greatest.[8] 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.[9] The 40th anniversary of the try sparked renewed interest.[10]

Other play

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
Barbarians 23–11  New Zealand
Edwards (4 – 1t)
Slattery (4 – 1t)
Bevan (4 – 1t)
Williams (4 – 1t)
Bennett (7 – 2c, 1pg)
Report (8 – 2t) Batty
(3 – 1pg) Karam
National Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: G. Domercq (FFR)
FB 15 Wales J.P.R. Williams
RW 14 England David Duckham
OC 13 Wales John Dawes (c)
IC 12 Ireland Mike Gibson
LW 11 Wales John Bevan
FH 10 Wales Phil Bennett
SH 9 Wales Gareth Edwards
LP 1 Ireland Ray McLoughlin
HK 2 England John Pullin
TP 3 Scotland Sandy Carmichael
LL 4 Ireland Willie John McBride
RL 5 England Bob Wilkinson
BF 6 Wales Tom David
OF 7 Ireland Fergus Slattery
N8 8 Wales Derek Quinnell
FB 15 Joe Karam
RW 14 Bryan Williams
OC 13 Bruce Robertson
IC 12 Ian Hurst
LW 11 Grant Batty
FH 10 Bob Burgess
SH 9 Sid Going
LP 1 Graham Whiting
HK 2 Ron Urlich
TP 3 Kent Lambert
LL 4 Peter Whiting
RL 5 Hamish Macdonald
BF 6 Alistair Scown
OF 7 Ian Kirkpatrick (c)
N8 8 Alex Wyllie

The Barbarians coach was Carwyn James, who was always noted as seeking to encourage his teams to play attacking rugby.


  1. ^ "The greatest try ever scored?". BBC. 26 January 2013.
  2. ^ Gallagher, Brendan (4 December 2009). "Barbarians v New Zealand '73 - the greatest try of them all". Daily Telegraph.
  3. ^ "International Matches". Archived from the original on 13 February 2010.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Gallagher, Brendan (3 December 2009). "Barbarians v New Zealand: the greatest commentary that never was". Daily Telegraph.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "100 Greatest Sporting Moments - Results". Channel 4. 2002. Archived from the original on 15 January 2002.
  10. ^ Morgan, Cliff (25 January 2013). "Cliff Morgan salutes 'greatest try' when Gareth Edwards scored for Barbarians against All Blacks in 1973". Daily Telegraph.

External links

  • Video of the try
Retrieved from ",_1973&oldid=919851931"
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