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A Day To Remember

A Day To Remember


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Thirty years ago today Llanelli downed the might of New Zealand.

Llanelli fans among the 23,000-strong crowd who packed Stradey Park on a grey, murky October day can remember centre Roy Bergiers’ winning try like it was yesterday.

After only four minutes, home fly-half Phil Bennett lined up a shot at goal. It hit the crossbar and fell to All Black scrum-half Lin Colling.

The Carwyn James-coached Scarlets had a policy of chasing up Bennett’s kicks at goal. Centre Bergiers would take the left post, and winger JJ Williams the right. As Colling went to clear the ball, Bergiers charged it down before diving on it to set the Delme Thomas-captained Llanelli on their historic way.

Delme Thomas winning line-out ball

Bennett converted the try, and a long-range penalty goal from winger Andy Hill late in the second half sealed the famous victory, immortalised by Max Boyce in the song, ‘9-3’.

‘Poor old Lin – he held on just a bit too long,’ Bergiers recalled.

‘As was the policy, I chased up Phil’s kick on one post, and JJ chased up on the other side.

‘I just managed to get a hand to it and got a beautiful bounce. I dived on the ball and the whole place went bananas. I looked up and all the students from the school where I taught were leaping about behind the posts.’

Lions winger JJ Williams said the game was ‘the greatest moment of my life in Welsh rugby’.

‘I’d only joined Llanelli from Bridgend six weeks earlier. I was immediately struck by what a professional outfit they were – and how professional Carwyn James was as a coach.

‘He planned for months for that win. He was meticulous in his planning and he knew his team, his game plan and the opposition backwards. We had an immaculate preparation.

‘It was a great team – we really didn’t have any weaknesses, and we caught the All Blacks cold early in their tour.’

Williams remembers the try vividly.

‘The kick was just on Phil’s top distance, so we knew there was a chance it could fall short or come back off a post.

‘Sure enough, it did.’

The Llanelli team: R Davies; J Williams, R T E Bergiers, R Gravelle, A Hill; P Bennett, R Hopkins; D B Llewellyn, R Thomas, A Crocker, W D Thomas (capt), D L Quinnell, T David, G Jenkins, H Jenkins.

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