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Mark Ring

Mark Ring 'forgot' about the only try he scored for Wales

Who scored Wales’ first Rugby World Cup try?

Mark Ring was never slow in coming forward when he was playing for Cardiff, Pontypool and Wales, but the midfield maestro was once caught out in a local quiz when he should have been the centre of attention. 

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The quiz took place at the Nine Giants public house in Rhiwbina and Ringos’ team were tied with another side in the battle for the top prize. It is a moment in his life the now 60-year-old has never forgotten.

“The quiz came down to a tie-break question and it was to do with Wales at the first Rugby World Cup in 1987. I couldn’t believe it, ‘I was there’!” recalled Ring.

“The question being asked was ‘who scored Wales first try at the inaugural World Cup in New Zealand in 1987’. The answer came to me in a flash – ‘it was Ieuan Evans’, I said confidently.

“What were the rest of the team supposed to do? I’d played at that World Cup and must have known the answer. I could see Ieuan flying down the wing scoring his four tries against Canada in what I recalled was our first game.

“We gave Ieuan Evans as our answer and were looking forward to splitting the prize money. Then came the answer – MARK RING!

“I had got the games mixed-up. I thought we’d played Canada first and forgotten that we kicked-off against Ireland in Wellington, when I’d scored the try that helped us to win!

“The boys on my team have never let me forget that night. The shame off it – it was the only try I scored for Wales!”

If his own life isn’t really his specialist subject, at least he will always now remember that he holds the distinction of scoring the first try for Wales in World Cup history.

That’s the first of 148 tries at the World Cup finals – you can add a further 25 in the four qualifying games ahead of the 1995 tournament – for Wales.

WALES WORLD CUP TRIES

Year Played Tries for
1987 6 20
1991 3 3
1995 3 9
1999 4 13
2003 5 17
2007 4 23
2011 7 29
2015 5 12
2019 7 22
TOTAL 44 148

“It was a pretty good try if you take a look at it. I think the ball went through nine pairs of hands and I took an inside ‘chuck’ from John Devereux before I went over,” added Ring.

“Devs just seemed to thrust the ball into my hands, rather than pass it softly, and I was lucky to hang onto it. We’d lost to Ireland in the Five Nations prior to going to the tournament, but we felt we were good enough to beat them.

“We played into the wind in the first-half and then scored in the second. We had to feel confident with players like Rob Jones, Jonahan Davies, Devs, Ieuan Evans and Adrian Hadley in our back line.

“It wasn’t a great game, and there weren’t many in the ground to watch it, but it was a special moment to be playing at the World Cup – and in Wales’ first match. We did pretty well, although the All Blacks were a cut above us in the semi-final.”

Even 36 years on, Ring has a pretty good double boast up his sleeve to use at a dinner party. He scored the first try by a Welshman at the World Cup and he was in the side that claimed third-place against Australia to remain the most successful Welsh side at the competition.

All he has to do is remember those two facts!

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