Previewing the match on 7th January 1976 The Times declared;-
"Australians hoping for a boost in confidence"
"The Australians, badly in need of a boost to their confidence following three international defeats and crippling injuries, have no respite as they face another hard game at Newport today. Recognizing this, they have chosen a strong side, led by the prop forward Graham, who in the absence of Hipwell is the sixth captain used by the unsettled touring team."
"Newport are unbeaten at home this season and have a proud record against touring teams. They drew with the 1966 Wallabies and beat the 1957 touring side 11 – 0. There are six survivors of the side beaten by the All Blacks three years ago. They are the fullback Fuller, the halfbacks Rogers and Allen Evans, the locks Lyn Jones and Watkins and the flanker Geoffrey Evans. They represent experience in key positions and the Australians will have to play well to continue their impressive record outside the international games."
"John Berne, the powerful centre, returns for his first appearance since injuring rib cartilages against Scotland. Weatherstone plays in the centre again after being at stand-off against England and Wright partners Hauser at half back. On his last appearance in Wales, Wright scored three tries against Glamorgan at Neath and a similar display today might help him into the representative side against Ireland on Saturday week."
"For the 19-year-old Wright, who came on tour as first choice for the stand-off position, to get his chance, the touring team will have to dominate up front. While they are likely to be contained in the tight, the Wallabies appear to have the edge in the loose with a powerful back row in Pearse, Loane and Tony Shaw. Together with the kicking of Hindmarsh, this may be enough to carry them through."
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From the match programme:-
"WELCOME FROM IAN McJENNETT"
"(Chairman of Newport R.F.C.)"
"It is my privilege as Chairman of the rugby section of Newport Athletic Club to extend to our visitors a very warm and sincere welcome to Rodney Parade. We have looked forward to their visit for a long time but doubtless it will prove an occasion worth waiting for."
"The eagerly awaited match against Australia is the twenty-first occasion on which Newport has played a major Overseas Touring Team. Victories have been achieved over South Africa, New Zealand and Australia and our record against touring sides is second to none."
"Never-the-less today's game is a great challenge to Newport. In match after match the Wallabies have shown great courage and ingenuity in running with the ball even from deep in their own half. Their defence has been aggressive enough to induce opponents into less than accurate attacking punts from which the Australians then launch telling counter attacks."
"These spectacular methods have earned them many friends since their arrival in the United Kingdom."
"Today's match could well be one of contrasts with Newport attempting to dominate the set-pieces, apply pressure kicks to gain territorial advantage and make short thrusts at the goal-line. The Wallabies, on the other hand can be relied on to mount long-range attacks with great sweep and pace."
"But whatever the contrasts and irrespective of the result it is to be hoped that at the end of the day someone can write, as a New Zealander did in 1963, "The plain inescapable and immutable fact about this most thrilling game was that the better team wonâ€”and, after all, no-one can possibly complain at this very proper conclusion of a sporting encounter"."
"Once more, welcome Wallabies."
"WELCOME TO RODNEY PARADE"
"This afternoon the '6th Wallabies' pay their fourth visit to Wales during the present tour. On their previous visits they have achieved success and failure. The serious setbacks sustained versus Cardiff and the Welsh National team, were overcome with victories at Swansea, Neath and the magnificent draw achieved at Llanelli. The final 15 minutes at Stradey coupled with the second half display at the Gnoll versus Glamorgan County, have proved that they are capable of playing an exciting brand of rugby with plenty of attacking flair. They can have received no greater compliment than to have had their style compared to that of the Wallabies of 1948, in that never to be forgotten game versus the Barbarians at Cardiff Arms Park."
"Skipper John Hipwell who played here at Rodney Parade in partnership with Phil Hawthorn in 1966, and Geoff Richardson in 1973, will have pointed out to the touring party that no Australian side has won on this ground since 1947. Bob Davidson's team in 1957 were defeated by 11 pts. to Nil, John Thornetts' 1966 team drew 3 pts. each, while Peter Sullivans 1973 team were defeated 19 pts. to 11 pts., by East Wales. In order to overcome this 'hoodoo', it has been rumoured that Geoff Shaw, Mark Loane, and Mike Fitzgerald who trained here a few weeks ago while receiving treatment at the 'White House' from Gerry Lewis, were really spies for Ross Turnbull and Dave Brockhoff."
"When one considers that the population of Australia is only 13,000,000, compared to 55,522,000 in Great Britain their contribution of World Class Sports Stars is enormous. Earlier this year they carried off the Rugby League World Cup, as well as retaining 'the Ashes' and when one thinks of names like. Sir Donald Bradman, Ray Lindwall, Wally Grout, Walter Lindrum, Peter Thompson, Herb Elliott, Ron Clarke, Mervyn Wood, Ivan Lund, Michael Wenden, Geoffrey Hunt, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Margaret Court, Betty Cuthbert, Dawn Fraser, Evonne (Goolagong) Cawley, Brian Bevan and Ken Catchpole to mention just a few, one realises their contribution. Their deeds and records speak for themselves and will live for ever in the archives of sport. Long may the land of sunshine produce these people to thrill and challenge the sporting world."
"As the Newport team climb the stairs to their dressing room this afternoon, they will need no reminding that the 'Big Day' has arrived. The game that they have carefully prepared for under Captain Colin Smart, Vice Captain David Burcher and Coach John Ryan is only an hour and a half away. Some have gone through it all before, while others will thrill to the electric atmosphere that starts the adrenalin pumping through the veins. They will all be conscious of the great tradition the club have against overseas touring teams. The ghosts of Walter Martin and Tommy Vile will be looking down, while the names of Leighton Jenkins, Brian Price and John Anthony will be on everyone's lips."
"As both teams make their way down to the ground a buzz of excitement goes up from the large crowd. A great roar greets them as they run onto the field and is repeated as the referee's whistle starts play."
"Let's hope we see a game to remember."
"THE SIGNIFICANT SEVEN . . ."
"BRIAN WALL (South Wales Echo)"
"Maoris, All Blacks, Springboks, Wallabies, Wara-tahs, Kiwis, Sables . . . over a period of 88 years Newport have faced the challenge of 22 touring teams from New Zealand, South Africa and Australia."
"Yet in one sense, today's match is unique. It is the first time the Black-and-Ambers have not had a Welsh international in their ranks for a game against a national touring team."
"The last player to win his Welsh cap from Rodney Parade was winger Laurie Daniel, who contributed a try and a conversion to the 18^9 victory over Scotland in 1970."
"It will be six years next month since Newport produced a new international. Such a lengthy absence from the representative list is surely without precedent in the club's history."
"That 100-year history is studded with the names of more than 100 capped players - but only seven Newport men have appeared for Wales against Australia."
"The first two were Jack Jones and Phil Waller, who made their international debuts in the Welsh side that beat the 1908 Wallabies 9-6."
"Jones, a classic centre, really "belongs" to Pontypool - but spent part of his career on Uskside and won the first seven of his 14 caps as a Newport player."
"Waller, a fine all-round forward, was capped six times. He toured South Africa with the 1910 British team, remaining there to settle in Johannesburg."
"At the outbreak of the 1914-18 war, he joined the South African Heavy Artillery and was one of the four Newport internationals who made the supreme sacrifice. The others were C. M. Pritchard, L. A. Phillips and W. P. Geen."
"The legendary George "Twyber" Travers also lined up for Wales against Australia in 1908, but Newport cannot claim him as he was a member of the Pill Harriers club at the time. Almost 40 years were to go by before Wales and the Wallabies met again. That was in 1947, when Bill Tamplin banged over two penalty goals for a 6-0 win."
"Newport's sole representative was Ken Jones, making the fifth of his record 44 appearances on the right wing for Wales."
"In 1958 the Black-and-Ambers again had only one man on international duty against Australia - hooker Bryn Meredith playing his part in a 9-3 victory."
"The club's representation was doubled in 1966, when Brian Price and Stuart Watkins figured in a Welsh side that went down 14-11 to the Wallabies."
"Three years later - on June 21, 1969 - Price had the satisfaction of leading Wales to a 19-16 win over Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground."
"Keith Jarrett was also in the side, making his presence felt with 10 points from two penalties and two conversions. The Australian scrum half was John Hipwell, skipper of the current tourists."
"That completes the club's "Significant Seven"â€”Jack Jones, Phil Waller, Ken Jones, Bryn Meredith, Stuart Watkins, Brian Price and Keith Jarrett."
"There were no Newport players in the Welsh teams that played the Wallabies in 1973 and 1975. How many Black-and-Ambers will tour Australia with the Welsh squad in 1978."
The match itself:-
Mark Loane, one of Australia's few world class players underlined how much he has been missed with an outstanding contribution to the Wallabies win - their first at Newport since 1947. A broken hand and pulled hamstring put the 21yr old No 8 out of the tour for 12 games. It was his magnificent midfield run during the 2nd half which frustrated Newport's bid to gain control of the game. Australia led 0 V 6 with two Jim Hindmarsh penalties after a dull first half but Newport looked capable of saving their unbeaten home record when they roared into the attack after the interval. Then the No 8 drove through the middle, brushing aside tackles to give John Ryan a run that took him almost to the Newport line. From this move the tourists were awarded an easy penalty for Hindmarsh to make it 0 v 9. A break from the scrum by Jeff Squire supported by Brian Lease led to Newport's try. They set up a ruck and won it for centre David Burcher to score. From a line-out the Wallabies launched a well constructed attack which finished with a long run by Ryan. His inside pass for a Gary Pearse try was warmly applauded by the 25,000 crowd. Things may have been different had Newport fullback Gerry Fuller not had an off day with the boot - missing 4 kickable penalties.
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Peter West's report in The Times on 8th January 1976 went as follows:-
"Australians end a wait of nearly 30 years"
"By Peter West"
"Newport 7 Australians 13"
"It is getting on for 30 years since an Australian side last won at Rodney Parade. So these latest Wallabies must have been thankful yesterday to succeed by three penalty goals and a try to a penalty goal and a try. It means that they have not been beaten , outside of the three internationals so far played, since they met Midland Counties East under the Leicester lights in early November."
"Although the conditions were excellent – the Australians have yet to play in anything worse than a light shower in Belfast – it cannot be said that much light shone forth yesterday. It was in truth a thoroughly undistinguished error-riddled game and it is a long time since, at this level, I have seen so much indifferent kicking. The plague was so catching it spread sometimes even to Monaghan, the talented Australian wing, who normally, is the most graceful, lengthy and accurate practitioner in this respect."
"All in all, it was an occasion to be thankful for the smallest mercies, and at least the tries were something to write about. Midway through the second half, their lock, Watkins, won a Newport throw and Lease, plied by the lively scrum half, Alan Evans, set up loose ball fed back by the other flanker Geoffrey Evans, Alan and Gareth Evans spun it right, and the centre Burcher, whose dash and strength deserved more chances than they got, just made the line by the flag."
"Gareth Evans missed an awkward conversion but although by this time Hindmarsh had put three penalties on the board for the Australians, Newport clearly were back in strong contention. Ten minutes later their hash was settled by an even better score."
"It was Loane's turn now to win an Australian lineout at the tail, Hindmarsh moving up into his line to effect a clean break at outside centre and to put Ryan clear on the left. The hefty wing rumbled for the corner and, when confronted by the cover, unselfishly produced a scoring inside pass for Pearse, who has had an enviable capacity on this tour for popping up fleetfooted in scoring situations. There was still time for the Newport full back Fuller, for whom almost everything went awry until the closing stages, to miss a fourth penalty shot at goal. But he found the target with his last attempt, down the breeze from 40 yards, and a large crowd departed feeling no doubt that for once in a way this famous old club had failed to rise to the occasion. Their tackling sometimes had been rather lax too."
"Creating more chances, Newport had failed in the first half, and for a brief aggressive period following it, to capitalize on a scrimmaging advantage that by then had won Ford four strikes against the head. In fact their best early chance was squandered on the stroke of the interval when Lease stormed away from a lineout but poor distribution and then indecision by Gareth Evans left the defensive cover without too much to do."
"Another opportunity soon presented itself in the second period when Newport resumed with a series of powerful switched attacks from loose ball, and Burcher was felled in the nick of time by Berne. In retrospect this tackle by the Australian centre probably saved his side the day. A score then by Newport surely would have set their adrenalin flowing. After that – and as often has been the case when Meadows and Graham are playing at prop – the Australian scrimmaging steadied for a strong finish."
"There have been several occasions in recent weeks when I have expressed sympathy for Wright, the Australian standoff who looked so promising against England last summer, but who, has had so few chances here after a poor and unnerving start to his tour. I have to say, having seen his performance here, that I can understand an Australian reluctance to commit him at the highest level."
"Although he put up two good howitzers early on, his line kicking was sadly short and inaccurate, he had a kick charged down when he ought to have moved good ball, he never once had the confidence to try anything on his own, and altogether he looked the palest shadow of the bright young star I remember from Sydney and Brisbane."
"Hindmarsh kicked one penalty goal from 40 yards, after Alan Evans had picked the ball out of a scrimmage, and two from short range – the first of these followed a lineout offence and the second when Newport fell offside at a ruck. This followed a counter-attack, off a Newport tapped penalty, with Loane leading the charge and Ryan and Weatherstone in support."
"NEWPORT G. Fuller: K. Davies, D. Burcher, Gareth Evans, J. Martin: D. Rogers, A. Evans: C. Smart (captain), D. Ford, J. Dale, L. Jones, J. Watkins, Geoff Evans, J. Squire, B. Lease."
"AUSTRALIANS: J. C. Hindmarsh: L. F. Monaghan, L. J. Weatherstone, J. Berne, J. R. Ryan, K. J. Wright, R. G. Hauser: J. E. C. Meadows, C. M. Carberry, R. Graham (captain), G. S. Eisenhauer, D. W. Hillhouse, G. K. Pearse, M. Loane, A. A. Shaw."
"Referee: Mr R. N. Newell (England)."