509. Wales 13 – 8 All Blacks

Okay, so it was 19 December 1953, but it’s worth remembering if only because the boyos remember it.

It was at the Cardiff Arms Park – the real one, not the hootsie-tootsie Millennium Stadium built next door.

The Welsh team included six players from the Cardiff team which had beaten the mid-week All Blacks earlier in the tour, although my favourite club colours would be the hooker D.M. Davies who played for Somerset Police. At fly-half was the incomparable Cliff Morgan, who went on to a very successful career of post-dinner speeches and media appearances about how he beat the All Blacks.

The All Blacks were a strong, solid side, with plenty of names that would carry through the fifties and into the sixties: Tiny White, Ron Jarden, Ian Clarke, Kevin Skinner, Bob Scott and Bob Stuart. Making his test debut was Brian Fitzpatrick, father of Sean.

If you watch the footage of the time you’ll see that it was a beautiful day, a lovely ground (although that grass looks awfully long compared to modern pitches). And there was plenty of running and passing of the big fat ball. But the ref looks totally out of puff (shades of 1905).

New Zealand led 8-5 at halftime thanks to a try by Clark the flanker, and a conversion and penalty by Jarden (to a try by the Welsh flanker Judd, conversion by Rowlands). And even though the ABs attacked vigorously after halftime, they could not add to their score. Instead Rowlands kicked a penalty at 72 minutes, and then winger Ken Jones outpaced Jarden to re-gather a cross kick and score next to the posts. Rowland converted.

The All Blacks went on to win tests against Ireland, England and Scotland, but not by much, and then lost to France 0-3 in the last match of the tour in Paris, more than two months after the Cardiff test! (And the Welsh were still in the pub celebrating, I am sure.)

About Ned Davy

By hokey, the big fella’s tipped into his 50s. A rangy loose forward in his prime, good with the ball in hand, but rarely up with the play any more.
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2 Responses to 509. Wales 13 – 8 All Blacks

  1. Chris Jones says:

    Cliff Morgan’s Second Greatest moment and the two Greatest High tackles of all time:

  2. Jon Norman says:

    Keith (from Bland Bay) was there!

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