January 27 down the years
The match of the century
Tom David flings a vital pass to Derek Quinnell to set up Gareth Edwards' try on this day in 1973
© Getty Images
The Barbarians beat the All Blacks 23-11 in Cardiff in what was described as the 'match of the century'. The All Blacks had been unbeaten on tour and faced a side brimming with players from the victorious 1971 British & Irish Lions side that toured New Zealand, with revenge on the menu. Fittingly, the 'match of the century' also contained what is widely regarded as the greatest try ever scored, Gareth Edwards' dive into the corner following a flowing Barbarians' move that began with a couple of trademark sidesteps from Phil Bennett. "Kirkpatrick to Williams. This is great stuff. Phil Bennett covering, chased by Alistair Scown. Brilliant, Oh, that's brilliant. John Williams... Pullin, John Dawes. Great dummy. David, Tom David, the half-way line. Brilliant by Quinnell. This is Gareth Edwards. A dramatic start...what a score!" rang the excitable commentary of Cliff Morgan.
A week after sailing from Southampton, Dave Gallaher's 'Original' All Blacks arrived in New York at a late hour for the American leg of their famous tour. They played two games against British Columbia, both heavy victories, in Berkeley and San Francisco and an exhibition match against a scratch New York side. The players were not happy with the end to their tour, organised by the NZRU. "This trip [to America] is a confounded nuisance," manager George Dixon is recorded as saying by the New Zealand Rugby Museum. "Would much rather have gone aboard the steamer to enjoy a six-week rest and immunity from letters, callers, newspapers and worries generally."
France took to the field for a Five Nations match without flanker Jean Prat for the only time between 1947 and 1955, when he retired from Test rugby. The great Lourdes captain had 'flu and Ireland took advantage of his absence to win 9-8 in Dublin. Tom Clifford and Jimmy Nelson scored the Irish tries in a win for the forwards.
France completed the second leg of their maiden Grand Slam. Having made five changes from the side that beat Scotland at Murrayfield, the Tricolores come from behind to beat Ireland 16-6 in Paris. Wing Andre Campaes and lock Benoit Dauga scored the French tries.
Gloucester's Simon Mannix landed six penalty goals and Byron Hayward added another to see the Cherry-and-Whites through to the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup. Cardiff's Nick Walne and Gareth Thomas scored tries but the Welshmen were defeated 21-15 at Kingsholm.
Llanelli won a pulsating Heineken Cup quarter-final at Bath, which was postponed the previous day owing to a saturated pitch. Stephen Jones was the source of the Scarlets' points, landing eight penalties and a dropped goal in their 27-10 win at the Rec.