Ireland v Wales The Legend Of The Terrible Eight

8 The Terrible Eight


13 March 1914 Balmoral Showground, Belfast

This match is remembered as ‘The Roughest Ever’ and was the day of ‘The Terrible Eight’,  the Welsh pack that won the battle against eight very strong Irish opponents.

The evening before the game the captain of Wales, The Reverend Alban Davies, decides to take his team for a quiet night out at the theatre

Davies, Alban Rev. Rev Alban Davies

Some versions of the story state that there was brawl in the theatre, and that the police had to be called,  however eye witness accounts state that Doctor William”Billy” Tyrell told Welsh forward Percy Jones: ‘It’s you and me for it tomorrow.’ Jones, a colliery foreman, smiled and answered: ‘I shall be with you, doing the best I can.’

Another Wales forward asked: ‘Can anyone join in?’ And so they did!

Players fought when the ball was not near them and some should have been sent off, but Mr.Tulloch, the referee from Scotland, took little notice.

It was one of the all-time best punch-ups and Jones said: ‘The fun just went on and on.’

But after the match Jones was told by Tyrell that he was the best Welshman he had ever come across, adding: ‘You’re the only Welshman who ever beat me.’

The pair signed each others menu-card and in 1951, the president of the IRU, now Sir William Tyrell, and retired collier and now hotelier, Percy Jones, sat together during the match in Cardiff.

Ireland led with skipper Alex Foster’s try, but Wales clawed back the lead with Bedwelty Jones scoring the equalising try. Two weeks later he signed for Oldham Rugby League club.

Selected Irish captain Dicky Lloyd was photographed before the match with his team, but strained a tendon in the warm-up and Harry Jack was called up for his second cap, playing at scrum half with Victor McNamara switching to outside half. Jack’s third cap came in 1921 and he later became president of the Fiji Rugby Union.

For the first time Wales’s pack had remained unchanged throughout the season, but the First World War now intervened and Wales did not play an official match for five years and one month.

The Rev. Alban Davies died in Los Angeles at the age of 90, while both Tyrell and Jones lived to the age of 82, dying within six months of each other.


Ireland – Try: Alec Foster .

Wales – Tries: Bedwelty Jones, Ivor Davies, Jack Wetter. Con: Clem Lewis.



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