The Greatest Club Team in the World?
The Greatest Club Team in the World is how many fans refer to Newport Rugby Football Club and the side had their greatest day in their history when they defeated the mighty New Zealand All Blacks 3-0 at the Rodney Parade on this day in rugby history in 1963.
It was the only loss for the All Blacks on their 1963 tour. They finished with 36 wins and 1 loss.
“These tour games were fantastic occasions,” Newport’s captain Brian Price told BBC Sport Wales. “New Zealand had started their trip in September and didn’t get home until long after Christmas, it was a different world.
“We played them in the third game of their tour after they had hammered Oxford University and Southern Counties, so you could say we caught them cold.”
The game was a huge event for the city. The local schools were given holidays and more than 25,000 fans showed up to watch the match that was played in poor conditions and won off the rugby boot of John Uzzell.
“A 3-0 score didn’t do us justice,” says Uzzell. “The Newport forwards dominated the game, our full-back Ray Cheney hit the post with a penalty and we could have got a couple of tries.”
The key for Newport on the defensive side of the ball was to stop New Zealand’s legendary fullback DonClarke. Clarke was known as ‘the boot’ and lethal from any range but did not get one look against Newport.
“We saw them afterwards against the likes of Cardiff, Llanelli and Swansea, and while we weren’t exactly supporting New Zealand it was nice to be the only side to have beaten them,” said Price.
The win completed the club’s hat-trick over the southern hemisphere powers. They had previously beaten the South Africa Springboks and Australia Wallabies.
1946 – Ian McGeechan, Scotland and British and Irish Lions rugby union legend