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Gareth Edwards: 'Please don't let my hamstrings go now!'

NEWS: As Gareth Edwards was racing down the left touchline to finish off an unforgettable moments in rugby on his way to scoring the greatest try ever, his fear was that his hamstrings would stop him crowning a stunning move.


It was on January 27, 1973, while playing for the Barbarians against New Zealand that outstanding Wales scrum-half Edwards completed the score in the opening minutes of a match played in front of his home crowd at Cardiff’s old National Stadium.

Edwards, speaking ahead of a 50th anniversary lunch on Friday, told Britain’s Press Association news agency: “When Phil scampered back I thought ‘thank God, he’s a big reader of the game, he will put his foot on the ball and then kick it into touch’ and we could get our second wind.

“But, of course, he did the complete opposite, and thankfully he did. Not only did we score the try, it set the scene for the game.

“Wherever I go in the world, people want to talk about it,” said Edwards on Thursday.

The move began when Wales fly-half Phil Bennett ran back towards his own posts to field a kick from All Black wing Bryan Williams.

Bennett, who died last year, sidestepped twice in quick succession to evade several would-be tacklers.


His pass found Wales full-back JPR Williams who, riding a head-high challenge from Bryan Williams, passed to England hooker John Pullin — the only non-Welshman involved in the score.

Pullin found John Dawes, who feinted to pass to John Bevan, only to feed then uncapped flanker Tom David on his inside.

David’s pass was brilliantly caught low down by Derek Quinnell and his pass, seemingly intended for Bevan, was taken at pace by Edwards who dived in at the corner to evade the despairing tackle of Grant Batty.

A star-studded Barbarians side, featuring 12 players from the British and Irish Lions’ 1971 series win in New Zealand, went on to triumph 23-11.


The now 75-year-old added: “Derek passed, then I was thinking as I went up the touchline at a rate of knots ‘please God, don’t let my hamstring go now’!

Edwards, reflecting on the impact of the score, added Thursday: “In the 1990s, I was fishing in the middle of nowhere in Russia, and I was staying in a village where the mayor, who was a former nuclear submarine commander, took me back to his house, brought out a DVD, shoved it in the television and up came that try!”

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