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Wales V New Zealand Classics

Wales V New Zealand Classics


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1905 at Cardiff Arms Park.

Wales were the only team to beat the touring All Blacks – on their first ever British tour.

On December 16, 1905 Wales won in a game of only one score, but the match is just as memorable for a disputed try.

New Zealand had beaten Scotland, Ireland and England in their run of 27 matches and 27 wins under the captaincy of Ireland-born Dave Gallaher, a superb leader, who survived the Boer War, but was to die in the First World War.

England-born centre Gwyn Nicholls of Cardiff led Wales in front of a then-record crowd of 47,000 to see the first-ever New Zealand game in Wales, though they were to play four more before leaving the country.

Wales had brilliant backs at that time with Dickie Owen of Swansea and Percy Bush of Cardiff paired at half-back and used Cliff Pritchard of Pontypool as an extra back to counter Gallaher’s thrusts.

After 23 minutes came the vital score as Owen dummied and fed Pritchard who passed to Rhys Gabe (Cardiff), who in turn unloaded to wing Teddy Morgan (London Welsh), who sped in at the corner.

In the last few minutes Billy Wallace, the top scorer of the tourists, sent his co-centre Bob Deans on a run for the line and he was hauled down just short. Or was he?

The 21-years-old Deans died only three years later of peritonitis, but swore on his death-bed that he had scored a try. Opinion of Welsh defenders differed and it was said that the referee John Dallas of Scotland was ‘an old man in baggy shorts.’ His shorts were baggy, but Mr Dallas, a Scotland three-quarter, was younger than either captain of this match.

In many ways, it was as well that the dispute went on, for it made the following meetings of the countries even keener and more meaningful.

Tomorrow – 1953

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