The First Time I Saw The All Blacks Play


 It was a damp dark November day in 1972 , the River Taff shrouded in mist as I made my way into the South enclosure at, what was then officially entitled, The National Stadium Cardiff Arms Park.

I was fourteen , and was brought up on the folklore and legend of these huge men from the land of the long white cloud, Gallagher, Tremain, Clarke, Lochore, Meads these were all names that you uttered with a touch of reverence 

I went to the game with my Uncle Haulwyn , an ex Trimsaran blacksmith, and my cousins Stephen and Monica, sadly as I write only Stephen is still with us, but on that day we were all united in our excitement to watch a Cardiff side face New Zealand.

Two British Lions who had won the test series against the All Blacks the previous year were in the Cardiff side, Gareth Edwards and left wing John Bevan

The All Blacks had lost to Llanelli four days earlier so were not a happy bunch , and they were determined to win against Cardiff by fair means or foul, and I can tell you there was an awful lot of foul !

New Zealand had the big guns out for this game, captain Ian Kirkpatrick led a team consisting of legends such as Sid Going, Bryan Williams, Grant Batty, Joe Karam and Keith Murdoch, who went on to become infamous for punching a Security guard after Wales played New Zealand later that month.

Murdoch was sent home from the tour in disgrace, and mysteriously disappeared for quite some time.

Now you may find it hard to believe but on that tour the All Blacks refused to perform the Haka, until the final match against the Barbarians, when they looked more like village people than a group of battle ready warriors (Try to find it on You Tube and you will see what I mean)

 As for the match itself well I have seen world heavyweight boxing matches with less punches thrown

My cousin and a I were right at the front of the old South enclosure peering through the white railings close enough to touch the players it seemed, and we learnt a lot of new words that particular day, most of which were Anglo Saxon .

Some rugby broke out between the fighting, and The All Blacks  scored three tries through Ian Kirkpartick, Grant Batty and Mark Sayers, with Joe Karam landing two penalties and a conversion
Gareth Edwards scored a try for Cardiff and received an All Black punch for good measure so, the final score :

Cardiff 4 New Zealand 20

But for me it was sheer magic, I had seen Gareth and the All Blacks in the flesh and at Cardiff Arms Park, Christmas had arrived a month early.


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