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Tuesday Jun 7, 2016

5 Classic Moments from New Zealand vs Wales Clashes

5 Classic Moments from New Zealand vs Wales Clashes

Wales have arrived in New Zealand in anticipation of their three-Test summer tour so we thought it was high time we had a nostalgic look-back through some of the great moments between the two sides. Featuring big tackles, great tries and plenty of controversy.

Only our septuagenarian Welsh friends will remember the last time Wales beat New Zealand back in 1953, although there have been some occasions during the last 63 years where the Red Dragons have fought the All Blacks all the way; usually in Cardiff as Wales have never scored more than 12 points in a Test in New Zealand.

However, in Sydney, it’s a different story. Who can forget when the Wales ‘B Team’ gave New Zealand the fright of their lives?

NEW ZEALAND 53 – 37 WALES – 2003 RWC

In the 2003 World Cup, no-one gave Steven Hansen’s Wales a chance against the ABs, not even Steve himself. He sent out the boys who hadn’t had much playing time yet, including “third-choice scrum-half” Shane Williams on the wing. The rest, as they say, is almost history.


It’s no surprise that there have been some pretty big hits down the years in games between the two sides. But surely there was none bigger than Jerry Collins’ marmalisation of Colin Charvis? Even by today’s standards, it’s a wince-inducing clip. We miss you, Jerry.

WALES 25 – 26 NEW ZEALAND – 2004

The closest the boys in red have come to claiming a Kiwi scalp was in 2004. Mike Ruddock was laying the groundwork for the upcoming Grand Slam, and two weeks after they had run South Africa close in losing 36-38, hopes of a rare victory were high.

In the last minute, Wales had a line-out in the Kiwi half, but couldn’t retain possession, and the chance was gone.

THAT HAKA – 2008

No discussion about the best moments between the two sides is complete without that Haka response. In 2008, there had been a lot of talk about a possible riposte to the Kiki war dance, with rumours of a Welsh version being practised behind closed doors, but instead what happened was simple, pure sporting theatre.

WALES 12 – 13 NEW ZEALAND – 1978

And finally, 1978 – a sore moment for any Welsh fan and something that should always be used as inspiration in the dressing room before kick-off.

A large part of rugby is seeing how much you can get away with. But what happened on the 11th November that year has had Welsh fans seething ever since.

It was 12-10 to Wales with six minutes to go, before All Blacks second-rower Andy Hayden made Greg Louganis look like Peter Kaye in a John Smith’s advert.

2016 TOUR FIXTURES (all games at 8.35am GMT unless specified otherwise)

11th June – New Zealand vs Wales
14th June – Chiefs vs Wales  (Midweek match, 7.35am GMT)
18th June – New Zealand vs Wales
25th June – New Zealand vs Wales



  • larry
    7:29 PM 11/06/2016

    There were some punches thrown by All Blacks in the 1978 match. That '72 match was just a month after the Llanelli match, and Murdoch and a few other All Blacks certainly seemed more interested in kicking and punching Llanelli players in that match than playing the game itself. I don't have to remind you that the '71 Lions were intent on getting their retaliation in first. Regarding Williams, he picked up a loose ball and placed it over the goal line, and it should have been allowed I think, . Murdoch's try wasn't very different either, and he was awarded a try while on the ground, apparently diving on the ball and sliding across the goal line. The announcer Bill McLaren even thought Williams had scored a try. That loose ball was right near the goal line, Williams hadn't been running with it and tackled short, placing the ball after the tackle, which would have been a penalty then. I know that. I am a referee. Another referee might have awarded a try at that time given the laws. Anyway, it is past history, but a few Welsh wins in the 70's might have made the more recent dominance of the All Blacks over them less daunting. With professionalism, the All Black dominance in international matches has been a record difficult to compete with: the last two WC. If anything there has been more of a gap in talent and performance between that nation and other nations, save when South Africa, Australia, or France have been able to compete and beat them. Every now and then England have, but if anything English defeats of New Zealand were more prominent prior to professionalism. Except for the few times that Ireland and Scotland have tied New Zealand, and taking the fact that Wales haven't beaten New Zealand since 1953, the dominance of New Zealand over the home countries, save perhaps of England with those occasional wins, is obvious, throughout rugby history since 1905.

  • breakaway
    2:02 PM 08/06/2016

    As soon as I saw the heading for this on RD I knew you wouldn't disappoint me Larry, and sure enough, it's the day that Wales was robbed (again). But I honestly think you should let go of this 1972 obsession and move on. It really was a long time ago and there have been many many more contentious decisions in the intervening years, with the All Blacks being on the wrong end of their share. And I'm not at all convinced that this one was wrong. Johnson was a good referee and he was perfectly placed, and the laws were different then. Nobody at the time who knew the game well would have been surprised at the try not being given, going on what we can see on film. An All Black try disallowed under the exact same circumstances would have been greeted with nodding agreement by each and every Welshman on this earth, no question. Another interesting incident from that test was early on when the Welsh hooker, Young, came around the front of the lineout, ran towards the NZ number 8 Sutherland who was kneeling on the floor and kicked him square in the face. Even the Welsh crowd went Ooh! He then trotted away followed by the ref and several All Blacks, letting Young know what they thought of it all. Meanwhile Sutherland can be seen feeling around for his nose. In these day of ARs and the TMO, Young would be looking at a red card and maybe a couple of weeks cooling his heels. Some of those old test matches were pretty wild and wooly and it's often pretty unwise to try and claim the high moral ground for either side. As for this weekend, recent history suggests that the first test is Wales' best chance, the All Blacks regularly being pretty scrappy first time up. I'm looking forward to it.

  • larry
    9:43 PM 07/06/2016

    Well, a few things, and I know it's all about the money nowadays, but wouldn't it be great for these players if they could take a year off post RWC and not tour to either hemisphere? There's been the 6 nations, several other tournaments involving South and North American nations, and there will be the four Southern Hemisphere nation's tournament in a month or two. Isn't that enough for 2016? Next year is the Lions tour. I'm sure 2018 will be chock a block with all sorts of international matches leading up to 2019's RWC. The Wales v New Zealand match missing in action here is the one in 1972 during the 7th All Blacks infamous tour to North America, Ireland and the UK, and France, which turned out to be controversial regarding Keith Murdoch, and had the All Blacks losing a few mid-week matches, most notably to LLanelli, getting tied by Ireland, and losing to France. The Welsh international was one that truly got away. JPR Williams should have been awarded a try instead of being penalized for double playing the ball. A try then would have led to a Wales victory I'm convinced. That bad decision was worse than the lineout call six years later, in my opinion. Ironically Wales really deserved to win the '78 match, as they dominated play for the most part, whereas the '72 match had New Zealand dominating play for quite a bit of that game.

  • pasletoux
    5:04 PM 07/06/2016

    This is what rugby is all about.


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