Wales' 1953 victory over New Zealand's All Blacks remembered

By Simon RobertsBBC Sport Wales
Wales Bleddyn Williams
Wales' Bleddyn Williams

For every Welsh rugby fan, and probably every New Zealander too, 19 December 1953 is a date forever etched in the consciousness.

Why? Because it is the last time Wales beat the All Blacks in a Test match.

Since that memorable day in Cardiff, Wales have tried - and ultimately failed - 24 times against the Men in Black.

One of rugby's greatest rivalries is now one of the most one-sided in sport.

Back in the Queen's coronation year, though, Wales versus New Zealand was one of the most eagerly anticipated sporting clashes.

Still reeling from a defeat by club side Cardiff earlier in the week, the tourists were greeted by a crowd of 56,000 at the old Arms Park.

While most of us wonder whether we will ever experience Wales beating New Zealand in our lifetime, club and country captain Bleddyn Williams managed it twice in four days.

Wales trailed 8-5 in the last 15 minutes, with wing Gareth Griffiths playing on with a dislocated shoulder and Williams having torn thigh ligaments.

Flanker Sid Judd crossed to level the scores - at the time, tries were only awarded three points, before their value increased to fourexternal-link in 1971.

Soon after, Wales back-row forward Clem Thomas had the ball on the wing and caught the All Blacks flat-footed when he launched a diagonal kick into the New Zealand 25.

Wing Ken Jones latched onto the loose ball to score the winning try to complete Wales' third victory in four meetings with New Zealand.

Wales 13-8 New Zealand, Cardiff Arms Park, 19 December 1953

Scorers - Wales: Tries: Sid Judd, Ken Jones; Cons: Gwyn Rowlands (2); Pen: Rowlands

New Zealand: Try: Bill Clark; Con: Ron Jarden; Pen: Jarden

Wales: G Williams (London Welsh), KJ Jones (Newport), GM Griffiths (Cardiff), BL Williams (Cardiff, capt), G Rowlands (Cardiff), CI Morgan (Cardiff), WR Willis (Cardiff), WOG Williams (Swansea), DM Davies (Somerset Police), CC Meredith (Neath), ER John (Neath), JRG Stephens (Neath), S Judd (Cardiff), JA Gwilliam (Gloucester), RCC Thomas (Swansea)

New Zealand: RWH Scott, AEG Elsom, JM Tanner, RA Jarden, BBJ Fitzpatrick, LS Haig, K Davis, KL Skinner, RC Hemi, IJ Clarke, RA White, GN Dalzell, RC Stuart (capt), WA McCaw, WH Clark

Referee: Dr Peter F Cooper (England)


Wales 0-6 New Zealand, Cardiff Arms Park, 21 December 1963

All Black legend Don Clarke and fly-half Bruce Watt shared the points, with full-back Clarke kicking a penalty and the latter slotting over a dropped goal.

More than 60,000 saw the New Zealanders leave Cardiff with their first win in the Welsh capital.

New Zealand's Andy Haden wins a controversial penalty in 1978
New Zealand's Andy Haden wins a controversial penalty in 1978

This is regarded by many as one of the great All Blacks sides and only a 0-0 draw with Scotland denied them a clean sweep of all the home nations and France.

The fiercely contested game was played in dreadful conditions and scoring chances were limited for both sides.

New Zealand may have beaten Wales, but they were still beaten on Welsh soil by club side Newport 3-0 at Rodney Parade on the same tour in their only defeat.

John 'Dick' Uzzell's drop goal was the difference between the two sides and the Black and Ambers went down in rugby folklore as the third club side to beat the All Blacks, joining the 1935 Swansea side and Cardiff in 1953, while Llanelli would join this select group in 1972.

Scorers - New Zealand: Pen: Don Clarke; DG: Bruce Watt

Wales: GTR Hodgson (Neath), DRR Morgan (Llanelli), DK Jones (Llanelli), J Uzzell ( Newport), DIE Bebb (Swansea), D Watkins (Newport), DCT Rowlands (Pontypool, capt), KD Jones (Cardiff), NR Gale (Llanelli), LJ Cunningham (Aberavon), B Price (Newport), BE Thomas ( Neath), Dai J Hayward (Cardiff), AEI Pask (Abertillery), A Thomas (Newport)

New Zealand: DB Clarke, MJ Dick, PF Little, RW Caulton, DA Arnold, BA Watt, KC Briscoe, KF Gray, D Young, WJ Whineray (capt), AJ Stewart, CE Meads, WJ Nathan, DJ Graham, KR Tremain

Referee: RC Williams (Ireland)

Wales 12-13 New Zealand, Cardiff Arms Park, 11 November 1978

Still probably the most controversial Welsh defeat between the two countries and it is still talked about now, at least in Wales.

Wales were the better team but were beaten with a last-minute penalty by full back Brian McKechnie after an incident that has gone down in Welsh rugby folkore and an example of the tactics the Men in Black would employ in search of victory.

Wales dominated possession and, with moments left on the clock, they led by two points.

Lock Andy Haden threw himself out of the lineout in an attempt to win a penalty, to the fury of the Welsh players. English referee Roger Quittenton penalised a push by Geoff Wheel on Frank Oliver.

Graham Mourie, the All Black captain, later admitted he had planted the idea in Haden's mind the night before the match. "I know that some of the players later regretted it and their part in it," he said.

"But it was equally true that in that crucial, unforgiving minute in the searing heat of Cardiff Arms Park the match was won."

While this defeat still rankles for the Welsh, New Zealand's class of '78 became the first All Black side to return home with a Grand Slam of wins over England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Scorers - Wales: Pens: Gareth Davies (3), Steve Fenwick

New Zealand: Try: Stu Wilson; Pens: Brian McKechnie (3)

Wales: JPR Williams (Bridgend, capt), JJ Williams (Llanelli), RWR Gravell (Llanelli ), SP Fenwick (Bridgend), CFW Rees (London Welsh), WG Davies (Cardiff), TD Holmes (Cardiff), AG Faulkner (Pontypool), RW Windsor (Pontypool), G Price (Pontypool), GAD Wheel (Swansea), AJ Martin (Aberavon), J Squire (Pontypool), DL Quinnell (Llanelli), P Ringer (Ebbw Vale)

New Zealand: CJ Currie, SS Wilson, BJ Robertson, WM Osborne, BG Williams, OD Bruce, DS Loveridge, WK Bush, AG Dalton, BR Johnstone, AM Haden, FJ Oliver, GNK Mourie (capt), GA Seear, LM Rutledge. Replacement: BJ McKechnie for Currie

Mefin Davies scores against the All Blacks in 2004
Mefin Davies scores against the All Blacks in 2004

Referee: Roger C Quittenton (England)

Wales 25-26 New Zealand, Cardiff Arms Park, 20 November 2004

Wales' wait for a win over New Zealand continued as the All Blacks edged a breathless encounter in Cardiff but the hosts certainly pushed the visitors all the way at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales, who had seen Tom Shanklin cross for a try in the first half, were 19-13 ahead just after half-time when hooker Mefin Davies was driven over from short-range for Wales' second try.

But wing Joe Rokocoko, who scored two of New Zealand's three tries, was a constant threat taking his try tally to an incredible 27 tries in 22 games for the All Blacks.

Gavin Henson reduced the deficit to a point with his second penalty five minutes from time, but Wales failed, once again, to land the knockout punch.

Scorers - Wales: Tries: Shanklin, Davies; Pens: S Jones (3), Henson (2)

New Zealand: Tries: Rokocoko (2), Muliaina; Con: Carter; Pens: Carter (3)

Wales: G Thomas (Toulouse, capt); T Shanklin (Blues), S Parker (Ospreys), G Henson (Ospreys), S Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Clermont-Auvergne), D Peel (Scarlets); G Jenkins (Blues), M Davies (Neath RFC), A Jones (Ospreys), B Cockbain (Ospreys), G Llewellyn (Narbonne), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), C Charvis (Newcastle), M Owen (Dragons).

Replacements: Steve Jones (Dragons), Duncan Jones (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys), M Williams (Blues), G Cooper (Dragons), C Sweeney (Dragons), R Williams (Blues).

New Zealand: M Muliaina (Blues); D Howlett (Blues), C Laulala (Crusaders), A Mauger (Crusaders), J Rokocoko (Blues); D Carter (Crusaders), P Weepu (Hurricanes); T Woodcock (Blues), K Mealamu (Blues), G Somerville (Crusaders), C Jack (Crusaders), A Williams (Blues), R So'oialo (Hurricanes), R McCaw (capt, Crusaders), M Tuiali'i (Crusaders).

Replacements: A Oliver (Otago), C Hayman (Otago), R Thorne (Canterbury), M Holah (Waikato), B Kelleher (Waikato), M Nonu (Wellington), R Gear (Auckland).

Referee: Tony Spreadbury (England)