The Greatest Try

What A Score!

Was it the greatest rugby try ever scored? The Barbarians against the All Blacks, 1973. A rugby match in Cardiff, made unforgettable in the opening minutes. That game. That try. Step by step, let’s take a look at how it happened.

How The Magic Moment Unfolded

The iconic highlight came in the opening minutes of the game and had a commentary to match, provided by a Welsh legend from an earlier golden age — Cliff Morgan. Here’s how his words and their actions unfolded, supported by additional insights by broadcaster and journalist, Carolyn Hitt.

It was very much a team try, but special mention must go to Phil Bennett, who managed to beat or commit a third of the New Zealand team in a few seconds of magic. He created the space, opportunity and momentum for the rest of us to carry the move downfield to score.

Sir Gareth Edwards CBERugby Legend
  1. “This is great stuff. Phil Bennett covering”

    New Zealand wing Bryan Williams must still rue the day he sent a kick deep into the BaaBaas 22 for Phil Bennett to collect. Perhaps he thought the Welsh fly-half would boot it back, but Phil was in the mood for a dance...

  2. “Chased by Alistair Scown”

    The Kiwi flanker was indeed on Bennett’s tail. And he wasn’t the only one.

  3. “Brilliant! Oh that’s brilliant!”

    Not even Houdini could have escaped the encroaching All Black defence. But Houdini couldn’t jink like Bennett, who sidestepped four players and shimmied out of danger to send the ball to...

  4. “John Williams. Bryan Williams”

    This challenge would be a straight yellow card these days but thankfully for rugby posterity, JPR Williams shrugged off the high tackle from his namesake and kept the ball — and the greatest try ever — alive. Even though, in Gareth Edwards’ words, ‘he was virtually decapitated’.

  5. “Pullin”

    The English captain — and the only non-Welshman in the move — John Pullin received JPR’s pass with perfect timing and delivered it to...

  6. “John Dawes. Great dummy!”

    Was it a dummy? ‘If Cliff Morgan says it was a dummy, it was a dummy,’ laughed Dawes. ‘It was one of those things. John Bevan was running up outside me but I could see he was covered, so the ball had to go back inside me.’ Where he found flanker...

  7. “David. Tom David”

    ‘John Dawes made my career with that pass,’ recalled the uncapped player who was a late replacement for a flu-ridden Mervyn Davies. ‘I was just a boy from Pontypridd, had never played for Wales and this was the biggest game of my life.’

  8. “The halfway line”

    And the Barbarians are still flying through the All Black defence, with both Gareth Edwards and John Bevan tracking the move in the hope of a scoring pass. But the forwards want to share in the fun...

  9. “Brilliant by Quinnell”

    It almost breaks down but Derek Quinnell swoops for the ball off his bootlaces and, hearing Gareth Edwards hollering ‘Give it here!’ in Welsh, sends a flat pass in the direction of the scrum-half.

  10. “This is Gareth Edwards! A dramatic start! What a score! Oh that fellow Edwards! What can touch a man like that!”

    The All Blacks looked as if they were expecting John Bevan to take the scoring pass but one final surprise element in this glorious rugby chorus line remained — the appearance of Gareth Edwards arriving to collect the ball at full pelt. He later admitted he had “never run so fast on a rugby pitch.’

That game, that try — Barbarians vs New Zealand, 1973

If the greatest writer of the written word had written that story, no-one would have believed it.

Cliff MorganCommentator

The rugby world has enjoyed retelling the tale of That Try by That Fellow Edwards ever since. It’s a moment that captures the magic and wonder of the sport.

Under the guidance of coach Carwyn James, we felt we had the players and attitude to beat anyone and played with a free spirit that Carwyn encouraged throughout the game. To score so early in the match certainly gave us confidence to play the rest of the game as we did.

Sir Gareth Edwards CBERugby Legend

A Never-Before-Seen View of The Greatest Try

Now artistically captured as a signed, limited-edition print, you can own a close-up view of The Greatest Try as it has never been seen before. Artist Elin Siân Blake worked with insights from Gareth Edwards himself to produce this detailed reimagining of the Barbarians’ most awe-inspiring moment.

Buy the print

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