Will Halloween spook the All Blacks?


LLANELLI 9 NEW ZEALAND 3 (Stradey Park, October 31, 1972)

It is known as the day when the pubs ran dry in Llanelli, and Welsh entertainer Max Boyce later penned a tribute poem to music about Llanelli’s greatest triumph. A converted Roy Bergiers touchdown – it was four points for a try in those days – gave Llanelli a flying start.

New Zealand briefly cut the deficit, but a long-range penalty by wing Andy Hill confirmed the Scarlets’ victory and sent a 26,000 crowd wild as captain Delme Thomas and his team-mates were carried off the pitch by ecstatic supporters.

MUNSTER 12 NEW ZEALAND 0 (Thomond Park, October 31, 1978)

Graham Mourie’s 1978 All Blacks lost just one game out of 18 on tour in the northern hemisphere, and that defeat came on a Tuesday afternoon in Limerick as a Munster team coached by former Ireland captain Tom Kiernan powered to victory.

Christy Cantillon scored a try, while Tony Ward kicked the conversion and landed a drop-goal in each half.

Some 12,000 people were in the ground, but All Blacks wing Stu Wilson afterwards likened the atmosphere to playing in front of 100,000. The New Zealand line-up contained star names of the day like Wilson, Mourie, Andy Haden, Bryan Williams and Bruce Robertson.

FRANCE 43 NEW ZEALAND 31 (Twickenham, October 31, 1999)

France were given little chance of halting what appeared to be New Zealand’s relentless march towards World Cup glory, but a remarkable semi-final unfolded at Twickenham as Les Bleus fought back from a 24-10 interval deficit after All Blacks juggernaut Jonah Lomu had scored two tries.

Twickenham rocked as France produced rugby from the Gods, with Christophe Lamaison’s dead-eye goalkicking – he also scored a try – underpinning stunning touchdowns by Christophe Dominici, Richard Dourthe and Philippe Bernat-Salles.

Wing Jeff Wilson claimed a late consolation for the All Blacks, but the French party had already begun.

NEWPORT 3 NEW ZEALAND 0 (Rodney Parade, October 30, 1963)

October 31 had dawned in New Zealand when Welsh club Newport inflicted a shock defeat on an All Blacks squad that played 36 matches in touring Britain, Ireland and Canada – and lost one.

John Uzzell’s drop-goal in the 17th minute of a game dominated by heavy rain and strong winds blew New Zealand off course. It remains the greatest day in Newport’s illustrious history – an occasion when they toppled a New Zealand team that featured the likes of Don Clarke, Wilson Whineray, Colin Meads, Waka Nathan, Brian Lochore and Kel Tremain.

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