"Chairman of Newport R.F.C."
"They have been in Newport a few days, but to-day they will be at Rodney Parade - the 7th All Blacks. We are their hosts and so to them we extend a very warm welcome."
"Our record against all overseas Touring Teams is excellent and today I am certain that that record will be enhanced and that our reputation of being able to rise to the occasion will be more than evident. May I wish the Newport side good luck in this supreme test of their ability?"
"We hope that the game will be played in a truly sporting spirit, so let us as spectators give the visitors a sportsman-like reception so that all the memories that they carry away from Newport of to-day's visit will be happy ones. The result of the game ? May the better team succeed."
"President of the Welsh Rugby Union"
"The Seventh All-Blacks will need no reminder from me that today when they step on to Rodney Parade, they are visiting a ground of great tradition, a founder-member club of the Welsh Rugby Union, a club of which for so many years I have been a member, and proud of it."
"That pride in my club has never been higher than on occasions over the years when Newport have met, and at one time or another, defeated all the great Commonwealth teams who have played here. Burdened by wretched luck concerning injuries to key players, Newport have found this season difficult, but the record of the past is here for all to read, and I have no fear that Geoff Evans and his side will do other than their utmost to uphold that record."
"I am greatly pleased therefore to add my welcome to Ian Kirkpatrick and his fine young side, to whom I hope all Newport supporters will show that they recognise and appreciate all that is best in rugby football, and in so doing assist in making their tour the great experience it should be for all concerned."
"RUGBY IN THE LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD"
"By IAN FORD"
"Welsh International and Barbarian."
"453 appearances for Newport."
"Advisory Officer, Department of Horticulture, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, 1967-1971."
"Some weeks ago, during conversation, I was upbraided by a New Zealander for causing, or rather helping to cause, him much unhappiness when a schoolboy nine years ago. He was referring to a time when he and his family sat alongside a radio in the early hours of the morning listening to a distant voice, from the other side of the world, commentating on the last encounter between Newport and the All Blacks. For it was at that time that Newport fulfilled a great ambition and joined the exclusive company of teams that could claim to have beaten the All Blacks."
"Perhaps it is this very exclusiveness, and the pride that one has in belonging to this company, that is the greatest tribute to the strength and power of New Zealand rugby. It has been said that the 7th All Blacks are not of such a high standard as their predecessors but, if this is true, it is purely relative and any team that can end the long run of Welsh success on the Arms Park cannot be poor in quality."
"This afternoon we shall be able to judge for ourselves, and it is certain that we shall see a team playing with dedication and competitiveness that are so much part of the fabric of New Zealand rugby. Not to them should be applied that currently overworked phrase, taken from Victorian melodrama, of being willing to die for the cause. Their background leads them to be more practical and here our two nations, so similar in many ways, show a great disparity of temperament. The volatility and emotion of the Welsh conflicts with the seriousness and dourness of the New Zealanders and this is reflected on the field, where we compare 15 man rugby and 9 man rugby as though they were tribal rights reflecting on the honour of the countries."
"How arrogant it is for us to criticise the use of tactics different to our own when one does not need to have a very long memory to recall the advocating of similar tactics in Wales. Rugby is a game where much thought is required and it is a basic condition of success to play to ones strength. Undoubtedly this has been done and so it is of interest to look at the system that has created the traditional New Zealand rugby."
"The differences are illustrated by the attitudes and ambitions of the boys of the two nations. The youngster in New Zealand dreams of becoming an All Black FORWARD, another Colin Meads or Brian Lochore perhaps, and settles for a back position if necessary. But the Welsh boy is dreaming of becoming a Bleddyn Williams or Barry John."
"Thus the remarkable consistency of power among the forwards begins at an early age with young boys playing barefooted in places with names as beautiful, and as unpronounceable as our Welsh names. In early autumn, at each club, there can be seen hoards of small boys lining up to be weighed and allocated to a grade team. These boys will play to a weight range and not by age which appears to offer many advantages but, as with all rigid systems, there are anomalies and no account is taken of the maturity and strength which do not necessarily follow the pattern of weight."
"From the earliest age the teams play in championships and leagues that are strictly run on a points system which gives a competitive element from the start and no game is an island on its own. Much depends on the coaches who are appointed by the clubs and as there has been no official method of training these men, who give up countless hours of their time to the children, there tends to be a continuation of traditional methods of play."
"Results are important and, continue to be, as the boys gradually develop through the grades until the senior team is reached. Because of the distances involved, senior rugby is comparatively localised and club rugby is not the same as we understand it. A town the size of Newport will have 20 or more clubs playing regularly and the standard of play is lower because of the numbers involved. The clubs are grouped geographically into sub-unions which will select sides to compete with other such sides and now the incentive is to be selected for the provincial side where the player is reaching the top ranks. Competition at this level is fierce and the demands on players for training and fitness would frighten many first-ctass players in Britain."
"Just is in the games between sub-unions, there is competition for a place in the provincial side, so in provincial games, the mecca is in sight and the competition is for the final accolade - to be selected as an All Black."
"And through all this process of hardening and com-petition runs the authority and discipline of the coaches and this is both the strength and weakness of New Zealand rugby. It breeds efficiency, but not adaptability, technique but not flair, and strength before invention. This is said as a firm advocate of coaching but with a mistrust of placing too much power in the hands of a coach."
"Coaching has created superb packs who are trained to the peak of efficiency but, such is the competitiveness on which the reputations of the coaches is balanced, steadiness and not adventure is the criterion and the threequarters are stifled by the fear of mistakes. Thus the play of the threequarters does not develop to the same extent as in Britain and is regarded as subordinate to the forwards. So the play is based on achieving forward dominance, to be followed by further forward dominance but without the natural sequence of flowing back play, and we continue to admire and respect while awaiting the stirring of the blood that we feel must come. The desire for a change is strong within New Zealand and I am sure that before too long threequarter play will come into its own and that we will regret our presumption to criticise."
"It is customary to declare ones allegiance and mine is obviously that Newport should win but to-day will hold many memories for me. Memories of the last time Newport played the All Blacks when I was able to take part in that memorable occasion, and also memories of the homeland of our visitors, her sights and sounds, and places with strange sounding names; of Manapouri and Waikaremoana, Aorangi and Ruapehu, Waiwera and Maunganui, and many others. With these memories of the land and of its peoples, I make no apologies when I wish the New Zealanders good luck in to-day's encounter and later there will be some "hiraeth" when the time comes to say "e noho ra"."
The game itself:-
A thrilling game was played in front of 21,000 who packed into Rodney Parade but the match will be remembered mainly for the 'off the ball' incidents which marred the game. General warnings were handed out to both sides by the referee and the illustrious All Black trio of Sid Going, Alex Wyllie and Peter Whiting were all given a last chance before being dismissed. The fact that both teams finished with fifteen players was surprising.
An article in the match programme for Newport v New Zealand in 1989 noted that Geoff Evans' team of 1972-73 had played 28 games (including two Cup matches against Tredegar and Pontardulais), before the game against the All Blacks on January 10th. The record to-date was not impressive - 13 had been won, 14 lost and 1 drawn. The team had suffered an astonishing number of injuries. Wing Roger Francis was to miss the whole season, and among the many injured Del Haines was not available until the closing weeks. Keith James played only seven games before switching his allegiance to Cardiff, and John Anthony, who had captained the victorious team against South Africa, moved to the Midlands. The skipper had an unenviable task, but he impressed everyone with his leadership and personal performance. Few players have reached the heights of dedication which Geoff Evans attained in his seasons as captain. Week after week he showed unflinching courage and total commitment for the full 80 minutes.
Frequent team changes had an inevitable effect on the players' performance, and their morale, but the Newport captain won nation-wide praise for his sportsmanship and leadership. Geoff Evans was to inspire his team of "no-hopers" to give the New Zealanders one of the hardest games of their tour, though sadly it was to end in defeat.
The All Blacks arrived at Rodney Parade exuding confidence with eight successive wins behind them and few in the crowd of over 21,000 would have given the Newport team even the slightest chance of victory.
Newport started the game furiously and had lots of possession and chances but they could not maintain this effort for the whole game. In the first five minutes Newport went close to scoring on three occasions as they camped on the All Blacks line. John Jeffrey, Geoff Evans and Jeff Watkins in turn were almost there. Jeffrey, in fact, was about to dive over the line when he was bundled into touch barely a yard short. The incessant pressure had its just reward when Robin Williams put his side into the lead with a wide-angled penalty goal from about 25 yards. Stung by this early score after only seven minutes, the New Zealanders took play into the Newport half for the first time, and after ten minutes the scores were level. Full-back Trevor Morris kicked a penalty goal after Gerwyn Williams was adjudged to be lying on the ball. Referee Lamb was to again penalise Newport when Jeff Watkins and Peter Whiting were involved in a minor clash, and Morris kicked his second goal to put his team in the lead. Newport fought back and Robin Williams almost kicked a penalty from half-way. Then another from inside his own half went just underneath the bar. He was not to be denied for long however. All Black prop Graham Whiting punched Ian Barnard in a scrum and the full-back kicked a beautiful goal from near the touch-line. Sid Going was unable to escape the attention of Geoff Evans who was playing a captain's part, leading by example, and there were few attacks from the All Blacks. At half time the score remained 6pts each and the crowd buzzed with excitement.
Five minutes into the second half the All Blacks took the lead with a penalty from Bryan Williams after the Newport centres were caught offside. Peter Whiting was fortunate the referee failed to see him punch Lyn Jones, with whom he had engaged in combat from the outset. A moment later, however, Whiting was caught in the act and Robin Williams found a long touch. From the ensuing line out the Newport backs started a passing movement but another unsavoury incident saw Whiting and Jones locked together on the ground.
Newport now appeared to be running out of steam and Scudder eluded Newport wing Gerald Fuller to score the first try of the game. Minutes later Bryan Williams kicked his second penalty and the home supporters waited for the flood-gates to open.
Geoff Evans then drew a last desperate effort from his team and Robin Williams dropped a magnificent goal to cut the deficit. Back came the All Blacks with a try from Bryan Williams, but Newport continued to press and Jeff Watkins forced his way over for a try which Robin Williams goaled. Only five points separated the teams at the end of a rousing and dramatic match, which was unfortunately marred by the unsavoury incidents.
NEWPORT- Robin Williams; Gerald Fuller, Gareth Talbot, Norman Edwards, Phil Ward; David Rogers, Alan Evans; Brian Rowland, Gerwyn Williams, Ian Barnard; Lyn Jones, Jeff Watkins; Paul Watts, John Jeffrey, Geoff Evans (Capt).
NEW ZEALAND- T.J. Morris; B.G. Williams, B.J. Robertson, M. Sayers; G.R. Scudder, R.E. Burgess, S.M. Going; G.J. Whiting, R.A. Urlich, S.M. McNichol; P.J. Whiting, I.M. Eliason; A.J. Wyllie, B. Holmes, A.I. Scown.