Edwards reflects on 50 years since ‘that try’

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The try was the lasting memory of the end of the British and Irish leg of the tour game for the All Blacks against the Barbarians, won by the Barbarians 23-11. The home side contained 12 members of the successful 1971 British & Irish Lions team.

Edwards was on the end of a length-of-the-field movement started by first five-eighths Phil Bennett, who fielded a kick into the Barbarians' 22m area and then jinked free instead of kicking the ball to touch.

Passes between Bennett, hooker John Pullin, centre John Dawes, No8 Tom David, flanker Derek Quinnell and Edwards followed.

Edwards told PA Sport, "We were hoping that we could show glimpses of the rugby we played in New Zealand in 1971 and show it to a home crowd.

"The game was a mess to start with – plenty of wayward kicking – and when Phil scampered back, I thought, 'thank God, he's a big reader of the game, he will put his foot on the ball and then kick it into touch', and we could get our second wind.

"But, of course, he did the complete opposite, and thankfully he did. Not only did we score the try, it set the scene for the game.

"My words before he started dodging and weaving were not for public consumption. It was the complete opposite of what I thought Phil was going to do.

"By this time, I was in no man's land, and I was thinking I had better put my hand up here to show the referee I wasn't interfering with play. Then the boys went past me and started vanishing into the distance.

"Fortunately, the move started to take more shape, and it gave me an opportunity to work out what was in front of me, but the last thing I was thinking of was that I was going to score a try in the corner. I can tell you that for nothing.

"I just thought as a good scrum-half to 'get there' and don't let people complain you are too slow or past it. In trying to get there, and with all the inter-passing, it was set up for something to happen."

Edwards resorted to using the Welsh language to shout to teammate Derek Quinnell 'throw it here'.

"Thankfully, his Welsh was good enough to understand what I meant.

"Derek passed, then I was thinking as I went up the touchline at a rate of knots, 'please God, don't let my hamstring go now'.

"It all went in a flash, and, of course, none of us had access to it – nobody could pull out their phone and look at the try after the match.

"But looking back, all of us, we can't believe how many times that move could have gone wrong. Thankfully, it didn't."

The 63-Test veteran (53 for Wales and 10 for the Lions) said wherever he goes in the world; the try was what people wanted to talk about, including in the Russian interior where the mayor of a village, a former submarine commander, had a copy of the try on DVD.


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