Rugby World

“Memories of a lifetime in rugby”

Rugby’s most outspoken and influential journalist

THE SIXTIES

Even as a teeny schoolboy I bled black and amber. Somehow my dad got us tickets for Newport’s 1963 match against New Zealand at Rodney Parade. I remember being scared by the crowd and the crush, and also excited when John Uzzell dropped a goal. The boys held on, gloriously, as the All Blacks kicked our Glyn Davidge black and blue. We beat the All Blacks. Rugby World was three.

Amazingly in that decade, we drew with Australia and beat the Springboks. Not bad for a group of townies representing the town. Why, oh why, did they ever go down the Dragons regional route?

Here is the cost of a day at the rugby then, expressed in modern coinage: train to Newport 10p, match entry 5p, programme 3p.

There was no rugby in Welsh junior schools; we all played football. There was no mini rugby at clubs. So I first donned rugby kit in the first week of the first year at Bassaleg Grammar School at a training session.

John Harries, a legendary sports master, was in charge. None of us had played more than street touch rugby but we had followed the game avidly, we knew what to do. Mr Harries lined us up. “No 8!” he said. “You.” And I took my place.

What next? We went straight into a 15-a-side match. At

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