Five Welsh rugby greats were honoured by the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame at the International Conference Centre, at the Celtic Manor Resort, at the end of a spectacular lunch to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Barbarians beating New Zealand in 1973.
Derek Quinnell and Tommy David were both involved in the famous Gareth Edwards try on that day, while John Bevan also scored as the Baa-Baas beat the All Blacks 23-11. Legendary Llanelli skipper Delme Thomas and John Taylor, both 1971 Grand Slam winners and British & Irish Lions Test stars in the series win in New Zealand, were the other two added to the WSHOF exclusive ‘Roll of Honour’.
The old gang got back together again to celebrate ‘The Greatest Try’ and turned back the years as an audience of 1200 people packed in for an afternoon of nostalgia. Many of the greatest players of that or any age gathered to mark the historic occasion
That game included, as commentator Cliff Morgan told the world “a dramatic start” Four minutes into the game Phil Bennett danced past three New Zealanders, passed to JPR Williams, on to John Pullin, John Dawes, Tommy David, Derek Quinnell and finally Gareth Edwards, who sprinted in from the half-way line.
JPR, David, Quinnell and Edwards were back in town, Mike Gibson and Willie John McBride flew in from Ireland and John Bevan, a later try scorer, was also there.
There was also a Zoom link to New Zealand, where skipper Ian Kirkpatrick, Bryan Williams and Alistair Scown joined in the trip down memory lane.
“The thing I love most about that try,” said Edwards, “is that it still brings so much joy to people even after all these years. I’ve been all over the world to talk about it.
“We played for the joy of the game on that day and it is testament to the strength of the All Blacks that we celebrate any win over them. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, and New Zealand have been the standard bearers for so many years.”
Scown, who was the flanker who was beaten by the first of Bennett’s brilliant sidesteps, revealed that he “gets asked about that try a lot – a hell of a lot!”
“I’m just proud that I played one of the first parts in that try by missing a tackle on Phil. You could say I helped to start the greatest try,” he added.
The biggest rugby lunch ever staged in Wales included music, comedy, video, interviews and a charity auction. It was a memory every one wanted to relieve, even from New Zealand, and Edwards score remains ‘The Greatest Try’.