Gareth Edwards, Cardiff and Wales Scrum-Half

Pontypool v Cardiff, WRU Challenge Cup, Pontypool Park, Gwent — 14 January 1978

‘This is Gareth Edwards. A dramatic start. What a score! Oh, that fellow Edwards’

— BBC TV commentator Cliff Morgan on Gareth Edwards’ try for the Barbarians v the All Blacks in 1973

A murky day in the Welsh Valleys in the bleak mid-winter of 1978. My father and I went to Pontypool Park to watch Pontypool take on Cardiff in the Welsh Rugby Union Challenge Cup. In those amateur days you could pay a couple of pounds and see – and even walk up and down the touchline taking pictures of – some of rugby’s greatest players.

contact ben french jones, ben in black


gareth edwards cardiff

This particular day saw the likes of Wales internationals Gareth Edwards and Gerald Davies (right) turn out for Cardiff, with the legendary Pontypool Front Row of Graham Price (who went to the same school as my father, West Monmouth Grammar School), Charlie Faulkner and Bobby Windsor. Blood ran more freely than did the players in a dour, sometimes bad-tempered affair, which Cardiff eventually won 16-11, with Gerald Davies scoring the best try of the game.

Bad light precluded great photography; the main picture is my favourite of the afternoon, showing Cardiff scrum-half Gareth Edwards in full flow, about to get scragged but still able to get the ball away from the scrum with his trademark reverse pass.

gerald davies cardiff
pontypool v cardiff rugby union

Cardiff lost to Swansea in a later stage in the Cup, and there were no league games in those days. However, the season was business as usual for Edwards and his fellow internationals as Wales went on to win another Triple Crown and another Grand Slam.