Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A dark day for the All Blacks

October 30 was a significant day in New Zealand rugby, not just because the 2014 batch of Super Rugby squads were named.

It was the 50th anniversary of the day Welsh club Newport beat the All Blacks, the only loss the All Blacks suffered on their 1964-64 tour of Britain, Ireland and France.

Wilson Whineray's men went down 0-3 when Newport centre Dick Uzzell landed a dropped goal in the 17th minute.

Try as they might, the New Zealanders couldn't escape the passionate grip of the home team who achieved a great day in their club's history.

Welsh teams don't beat the All Blacks too often.

The occasion was marked by a renunion of the team on Wednesday evening and all but two members who had died, were able to attend. The players were given the freedom of Newport in honour of their achievement at the Rodney Parade ground.

Captain Brian Price, who toured with the British and Irish Lions, achieved Triple Crowns and Five Nations championships, told the South Wales Post: "It's difficult to say if it was the pinnacle of my career – getting picked as an uncapped player for the Barbarians side which beat the Springboks in 1961 and taking away their unbeaten record on the last match of their tour was special, as was winning your first cap for Wales and then going on to captain your country.

Brian Price - Win was memorable because he was playing with his mates
"The great thing about the New Zealand game was the victory over the All Blacks with Newport also had the distinction of being one that was achieved while playing with your mates, the people you played with week in, week out," he said.

Among various parts of the build-up to the game he recalled that Uzzell was nursing a hamstring injury that they had to keep quiet about. He was only passed fit two hours before the game, and then only after an injection from the club doctor.

While they had never been in control of the All Blacks pack they had been holding their own, he said.

"Some said our tactics were negative but we were out to stop them from gaining any momentum and from preventing [Don] Clarke from getting any penalty kicks at goal.

"I remember Brian Jones and Uzzell were superb in defence and we had five kicks at goal that day, all long ranger, while they didn't get one shot."

Uzzell's dropped goal attempted 'wobbled and scraped over the bar', he said.

"Wilson Whineray came into our dressing room afterwards and said to us: "Congratulations boys. There's no doubt about it, you were the better side on the day. I just hope you all get selected for Wales so we can have another crack at you'," he said.

Uzzell told The Rugby Paper: "We'd gone into the match determined to give a good account of ourselves and not let them run away with it.

"I never planned to drop a goal, not least because I was never a drop-goal specialist.

"It was done on pure instinct. I saw these three All Blacks charging at me and set myself up for the shot. I never saw it go over because they flattened me, but I heard the roar," he said.

Newport, joined Swansea (1935) and Cardiff (1953) as clubs who beat the All Blacks, with Llanelli joining them in 1972.

No comments: