Immortalised as the greatest try in rugby union history, Gareth Edwards’ try for the Barbarians turns 50-years-old today. The exhibition match against New Zealand in 1973 is considered as one of the best games of rugby to have ever taken place, with the crowning moment being Edwards diving for the line, to finish a remarkable try.
The Barbarians won that famous fixture 23-11, in what was known as the ‘Fifth Test’ of the 1971 British and Irish Lions tour against the All Blacks. There were many legends of the 70s in the Barbarian side, such as arguably the greatest British Lion in history, Willie John McBride, the flying Welsh fullback J.P.R Williams, and the Baa-Baa’s captain, John Dawes.
“This is great stuff…” commentator Cliff Morgan began prior to the Barbarians’ fabled attack. The game had only commenced, yet had been a relentless display of attacking brilliance from both sides. Just two minutes into the match, All Blacks winger Bryan Williams chipped the ball into the back-field, and was gathered by fly half Phil Bennett…
“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. David, Tom David, the half-way line. Brilliant by Quinnell. This is Gareth Edwards. A dramatic start…what a score!“
Bennett sidestepped his way through three tackle attempts, before shipping the ball to J.P.R Williams. The fly half offloaded before being high-tackled, and the ball seamlessly passed through four sets of hands before finding Edwards, who had cut inside from the left wing. With New Zealanders in-tow, Edwards dived for the line in the left corner, and wrapped up an eternally iconic score.
Gareth Edwards spoke with BBC Sport about the once-in-a-lifetime try, in such a magnificent match.
“I was coming up at a rate of knots, and as scrum-half I was just thinking I should get up there if the ball goes to ground.
“Derek (Quinnell) got the ball and I just shouted to him in Welsh, and luckily he was one of the few guys in that team who understood Welsh.”
“They played some fantastic rugby that day, but as it happened, we also were able to show our ability to produce one of the all-time great matches that still lives in the memory.
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself at the way things turned out. Wherever I go in the world, even now, somebody talks about it.
A truly historical try, capped of by Edwards, which will live long into the memory of rugby fans. The next chapter in the Barbarians celebrated history is shortly approaching, as they take on the World XV at Twickenham Stadium, on Sunday 28th May.
On Sunday 28 May (KO – 3pm), Eddie Jones will head up the Barbarians as he goes head-to-head with former New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen – who leads a World XV in what is set to be an unmissable clash at Twickenham Stadium for the Killik Cup.
Fans can expect an entertaining match, with a festival atmosphere and attacking rugby from two top-quality teams packed full of international players. Global stars likely to feature include:
Alun Wyn Jones (Wal), Danny Care (Eng), Semi Radradra (Fij), Charles Piutau (Nz), Pablo Matera (Arg), Michael Leitch (Jap), Emiliano Boffelli (Arg), Rhys Webb (Wal) and Joe Marler (Eng) plus many more…
Special Early Bird Ticketsare available from only £25* for Adults & £15* for Kids (U16). Buy now to secure the best seats at the best prices in any category. Visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk
A must-see match of 2023 and see world-class players in action at Twickenham.
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