October 31 – Say it ain’t so! But this is exactly what happened in Llanelli, Wales after Llanelli Rugby Football Club defeated the New Zealand All Blacks 9-3 at Stradey Park on this day in rugby history in 1972. The win started huge celebrations that poured over from the field to the local pubs and the rest is as they say, history.
Carwyn Jones was the mastermind behind the victory. He obviously knew something about beating the All Blacks. The previous year Jones has coached the victorious British and Irish Lions over the All Blacks, the only successful tour for the Lions in New Zealand.
The home side started fast with fly-half Phil Bennett, who was the home side’s inspiration, seeing his good looking attempt denied by the woodwork. But it led the game’s only try when the All Blacks scrum-half Lindsey Colling could not clear the rebound safely to touch and Roy Bergiers dove on the loose ball.
“It was the most physical game I’ve ever played in – we’d never experienced anything like it as younger players,” Gareth Jenkins told the BBC when looking back on the game. “The All Blacks have always been formidable and they were quite formidable that day! The result was ours but it was an experience and a half to have played in such a brutal game and come away with a result.”
New Zealand’s Joe Karam pulled the tourist back with his penalty and it looked as though the All Blacks had re-grouped and were headed for a win.
The Llanelli pack had different plans going toe-to-toe with the powerful All Black pack and winning on the day.
Andy Hill kicked a long range penalty to seal the Llanelli win.
Llanelli 1972: Roger Davies; John J. Williams, Roy Bergiers, Ray Gravell, Andy Hill; Phil Bennett, Chico Hopkins; Tony Crocker, Roy Thomas, Barry Llewellyn, Delme Thomas (capt), Derek Quinnell, Tom David, Hefin Jenkins, Gareth Jenkins.
Replacements: Selwyn Williams, Alan James, Chris Charles, Brian Llewellyn, Gwyn Ashby, Meirion Davies.
New Zealand 1972: Joe Karam; Bryan Williams, Bruce Robertson, Mark Sayers, Duncan Hales; Bob Burgess, Lindsey Colling; Keith Murdoch, Ron Urlich, Graham Whiting, Andy Haden, Pole Whiting, Alistair Scown, Alan Sutherland, Ian Kirkpatrick (capt).
Replacement: Grant Batty.