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WRU joins in #NSHD2022 with look back at 1905

WRU joins in #NSHD2022 with look back at 1905

Today is National Sporting Heritage Day (30 September) and this year’s theme is ‘Celebrating Diversity in Sport’. 

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It comes at a time when the Wales Women’s team is in New Zealand preparing to play in the World Cup having turned professional in the past year. If you go back to the first international played by Wales, against England at Pontypool Park in 1980, players from both sides ended up sleeping on the floor at the home of Welsh forward Liza Burgess after the game. 

How times have changed . . . and how the women’s World Cup has changed! The first tournament was staged in Wales in 1991 and a Welshman, Kevin O’Brien, coached the USA team to a final victory over England at the Arms Park. 

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They had beaten New Zealand earlier in the 12 team tournament and went through the competition unbeaten. Wales also played New Zealand, going down 24-6 at the Dairy Field, home of Llanharan RFC.

They will play the Black Ferns again 31 years on at Waitakere Stadium, Auckland, on 16 October. It has a 5,000 capacity and the ground is expected to be sold out. 

But that is always the way with games between Wales and New Zealand. There is a men’s match coming up on 5 November at Principality Stadium, when Wayne Pivac’s side will be seeking to post a first win in the series since 1953. 

The rivalry kicked-off in 1905, when the New Zealand ‘Originals’ toured the UK for the first time. As everyone who loves Welsh rugby will recall, the All Blacks lost only once on that trip, 3-0 to Wales in Cardiff. 

It was a culturally significant event because it was the first game at which the Welsh national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, was sung. The Western Mail had been used by Tom Williams, a member of the then Welsh Football Union, to moot the idea of the anthem being sung to counteract the famous All Blacks ‘Haka’. 

When the Wales wing Teddy Morgan turned to his players and started to sing the anthem after the ‘Haka’ had been performed by Dave Gallaher’s team, they all joined in, and the 42,000 strong crowd added their voices. If the crowd had come to experience the ‘Haka’, they left having launched another of rugby’s greatest traditions, the singing of the Welsh anthem. 

As Wales prepares to welcome the 2022 Rugby Championship winners, and to help celebrate National Sporting Heritage Day, here are some mementos from ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’ 117 years ago. 

All Blacks skipper Dave Gallaher’s 1905 jersey which sold for £180,000

Teddy Morgan’s Wales jersey, in the Cardiff Athletic Club / CF10 Trust archives. He scored the only try of the game.

The touch flag used in the game in 1905 at Cardiff Arms Park. CAC Collection / CF10 Trust

The centre page spread from the 1905 match programme. Original copies of the programme now sell for thousands of pounds.

The New Zealand team performing the Haka

The victorious 1905 Welsh team

The medal presented by the WFU to the Welsh players to mark their famous victory – CAC collection / CF10 Trust

The All Blacks will kick off the 2022 Autum Nations Series in the Welsh capital on Saturday, 5 November when they face Wales. Tickets are available from wru.wales

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WRU joins in #NSHD2022 with look back at 1905
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