Monday 12 March 2007

Barbarians vs. New Zealand All Blacks (1973) at Cardiff Arms Park

There are a lot of things to note about this video. I didn't realize the greatest try was scored so early on in this match (within the first 5 minutes). I also like some of the period features of rugby 34 years ago: the immediate engagement at the scrums; the condensed, unlifting lineouts with wingers throwing in (with a particularly odd overarm bowling style from the Kiwi no. 14 B. G. Williams); the under-rehearsed Haka (hardly as fearsome as it is today); the generally effeminate, schoolmasterish look of most of the players and the referee (these are amateur athletes); the heavy ball; the no longer practised straight-on toe-poke place-kicking technique of the Kiwi full-back, J. F. Karam; the deliberate pendulum passing style; the good sportsmanship. Some of the rules have changed since then: technical offences at the scrum, such as a squint feed or foot up, are now only a free-kick offence, rather than a penalty, as it was in the 1970s. I was impressed by the utter dependability of the Welsh full-back, J. P. R. Williams and the smooth running of Mike Gibson the Irish inside-centre and D. J. Duckham, the long-legged, blond-haired English right wing. The players were noticeably tired in the second half, which petered out in the last 20 minutes. Nevertheless, a real treat.

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