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When Newport humbled New Zealand

David Watkins directed the Newport tactics
Watkins controlled a tight game from fly-half
BBC Sport looks back at the 45th anniversary of Newport's famous triumph over the touring All Blacks.

As Wales prepare to take on the All Blacks in the autumn Test series, there is no reason for the country's long-suffering fans to look back 55 years for their last triumph over the Kiwis.

For it was a mere 45 years ago that Welsh club Newport took the scalp of one of the greatest of all New Zealand touring sides.

Wilson Whinneray's 1963 All Blacks were undefeated in 36 of their 37 tour games - but at Rodney Parade on 30 October they came unstuck.

Newport's captain Brian Price recalls the momentous nature of the event.

"These tour games were fantastic occasions," Price told BBC Sport Wales. "New Zealand had started their trip in September and didn't get home until long after Christmas, it was a different world.

"We played them in the third game of their tour after they had hammered Oxford University and Southern Counties, so you could say we caught them cold."

The Newport forwards dominated the game
Newport match-winner John Uzzell
Newport's fly-half David Watkins recalls: "It was a momentous day, to defeat the best rugby nation in the world, all the schools were given holidays and there were over 25,000 people in Rodney Parade."

Price was at the heart of a momentous forward effort from the Black and Ambers that tore into the tourists' set-piece game and denied them a platform.

In filthy, sodden conditions the boot dominated, and Watkins kept dragging New Zealand's legendary full-back Don Clarke from one side of the field to the other.

Such was the Black and Ambers dominance that Clarke, who possessed one of the greatest siege-gun boots in the history of the game, was denied even one shot at goal.

The game, which even the most die-hard of Newport fans would acknowledge was no free-flowing classic, was decided by a single drop goal from the boot of John Uzzell that crawled over the uprights.

"A 3-0 score didn't do us justice," says Uzzell. "The Newport forwards dominated the game, our full-back Ray Cheney hit the post with a penalty and we could have got a couple of tries.

"I shouldn't have even been at the game but attending lectures! I was in St Luke's and a fortnight before the game I pulled a hamstring - my only hope of making the game was to bunk off home for treatment.

"When I got back I had a note telling me to see the principal. I was pretty tentative, but when I entered his room he offered me a sherry and asked about the game!"

I faced them twice more, with Wales and the Barbarians, but Don Clarke always kept them ahead
Newport captain Brian Price
Having added a win over the Kiwis to previous club triumphs over Australia and South Africa, the Newport squad followed the rest of the All Blacks tour with a mixture of emotions.

"We saw them afterwards against the likes of Cardiff, Llanelli and Swansea, and while we weren't exactly supporting New Zealand it was nice to be the only side to have beaten them," said Price.

"I faced them twice more, with Wales and the Barbarians, but Don Clarke always kept them ahead."

Wales should be wary of the All Black beast and its elephantine memory, though.

When Whinneray's all-conquering tourists arrived back home, the first question put to them was: "What happened in Newport?"

It would not be beyond the New Zealand psyche to still be out for revenge.

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see also
Scrum V's rugby history
11 Aug 07 |  Welsh
All Blacks magic: New Zealand rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
David Watkins: The long road north
30 Oct 02 |  International
BBC Sport Wales coverage
28 Oct 08 |  Wales
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