CHILL-OUT SUNDAY THE ELLIS RUGBY WALES RUGBY – BARRY JOHN BOOK PREVIEW
Wales Rugby Barry John. The book written by the great Wales Fly-Half covers the story of the 1976 Grand Slam team. Led by Mervyn Davies.
Introduction by Wales Rugby Barry John
The 75/76 international season belonged to Mervyn Davies. And his Welsh team. For not only did they gain the Triple Crown and the Grand Slam. But they did so in marvelous fashion.
They were without doubt the outstanding team in the international championship. They deserved their success. For many reasons, but more, in my opinion, for the fact that they went out to win their games. And create their own chances and generally looked for opportunities to attack.
It would take a good team to beat Wales Rugby
There was always a feeling at the start of the season. That it would take an almighty. If not freak performance by any of the Home countries if they were to topple Wales. Such was the disparity in standards and player strength. And even in January. It was widely tipped that the visit of France would prove to be Wales’ real test. And how right that turned out to be.
However, nothing can be taken for granted in international rugby. And John Dawes knew this all too well. But the Welsh performance in beating Australia in December augured well for the remainder of the season. The team had played well within itself. And looked like a highly powerful, disciplined, and exciting unit. Who could face tougher obstacles with confidence.
Shock at the decision to drop Phil Bennett
The Welsh rugby machine was in excellent order. But incredibly, it was not an on-the-field incident. Or a result that created the biggest upset in Welsh rugby for a decade. It was the shock announcement after the Final Trial. That Phil Bennett had been omitted from the Welsh squad. Bennett was not wanted.
I’ve never known a reaction quite like it. For it seemed that nothing else mattered in Wales. As the ‘Bennett affair’ swept through the country like wildfire, with everybody giving their views.
Aberavon’s John Bevan was the man in possession. Having played against Australia. And although there was the inevitable split amongst the supporters. As to whether Bennett or Bevan should be in. There was however accepted that the battle for the No.10 shirt was exclusively between the two.
Injuries resulted in Phil Bennett back in the starting line-up
Then the bombshell. David Richards, Cardiff College of Education and Swansea’s young fly-half. Was preferred to Bennett in the squad. And was reserved to Bevan for Wales’ visit to Twickenham.
Richards was the innocent bystander in the controversy. But an incredible turnabout of events saw Bennett back in the team. After both Bevan and Richards had been injured. Like everybody else, I could not believe it. When I heard that Bennett was no longer wanted by Welsh rugby.
Where to by Wales Rugby Barry John – Rugby ’76 Book
The book Wales Rugby Barry John, called Rugby ’76 is very rare but available from Used World of Books. Also, we offer our Wales Rugby Shirt 1976 Grand Slam celebrating the heroes of that Five Nations campaign.