2003 or 2000: Which was the greatest rugby game? Ever?

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Many New Zealand rugby fans would agree that the 2000 match between Australia and the All Blacks was the best ever played.

Is it also possible that the All Blacks also won? What if Australia had won in the final seconds?

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It was indeed a spectacular spectacle that was seen in front of more than 100,000 people in Sydney.
The All Blacks took three attempts to Tana Umaga and Pita Alatini before Christian Cullen was able to make it work in five minutes. They were now leading 24-0.

It was an incredible start and everyone thought that the All Blacks would win easily.

The Wallabies finally had the ball, and Stirling Mortlock made it close with a great break by Larkham.

Grant Nisbet stated that “it was becoming an experiment fest.” Mortlock fell again shortly after his second attempt. Chris Latham closed the gap to 24-19. Joe Roff made it to four tries and Mortlock was penalized. The Wallabies had an amazing three-point lead.

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The game was an emotional rollercoaster ride from excitement to despair. Justin Marshall scored another brilliant solo try to take the All Blacks lead.

Andrew Mehrtens kicked a penalty to make it 34-27 ahead, but this was overturned by Jeremy Paul who tried to give the Wallabies a lead of 35-34. After the All Blacks’ great start, we couldn’t believe that this was happening.

With just two minutes remaining, Taine Randall made a basket pass to Jonah Lomu. Grant Nisbet said, “Here we go, can it be done, you betcha? You betcha! Jonah’s in!” Lomu scored and the All Blacks went home with a score of 39-35.


Jonah Lomu (Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images)

For a New Zealand rugby fan, can the greatest ever game be one in which the All Blacks lose?
The All Blacks began a long tour through Britain and Ireland in 1973, where they played the four home countries of England, Scotland and Wales.

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They lost three club games and drew against Munster. Three of their home countries were defeated. Ireland drew with them. The All Blacks did not complete the “Grand Slam”, until 1978.

Many notable players were part of the squad, including Bryan Williams, Joe Karam and Grant Batty. Sid Going, Grant Batty, Bruce Robertson and Kent Lambert. In February 1973, the team lost 13-6 to France.

The All Blacks had previously played a full-strength British Lions squad masquerading under the Barbarians at Cardiff Arms Park, Wales, on the 27th of January 1973.

The majority of Barbarian games are played by a variety of players from all over the world. However, this was almost a fifth Test.

Many of the Barbarian players were tourists on the winning British Lions team to New Zealand. The Barbarians made quite a team, including JPR Williams and David Duckham, John Dawes (John Gibson), John Bevan, Phil Bennett and Gareth Edwards. Fergus Slattery and Fergus Slattery were also part of the winning British Lions team to New Zealand in 1971.

The All Blacks had a strong side, led by Ian Kirkpatrick, who also included greats Bryan Williams and Bruce Robertson, Sid Going as well as Grant Batty, Grant Batty, and Peter Whiting.


What is the game? The Barbarians opened the scoring by scoring “that try”, which is widely regarded as the greatest rugby try. We expected Phil Bennett would kick for touch after Bryan Williams’ kick. But he chose to run, and that is something we are grateful for.

There are many “what-ifs”, but what if Alistair Scown had taken on Bennett? Or Bryan Williams, JPR Williams. We would all be poorer if we didn’t witness such a trial.

Derek Quinnell sent a pass to John Bevan via inter-passing between Dawes, Tom David, but it was “intercepted by Gareth Edwards,” who scored in the corner despite Batty’s desperate tackle. It was a great way to begin the game!

David Duckham, the magnificent All Blacks player, then broke the All Blacks apart with his stunning sidestep. It can only be compared with Bryan Williams’s 1970 South Africa tour.

Although the sidestep may seem to be a dying art of rugby, it is still a beautiful technique. The Duckham break was a great example of rugby passing.


Sid Going chip kicked the scrum to JPR Williams who was waiting for him. Duckham wins Bob Burgess by one sidestep. Ian Hurst then throws the most audacious dummy ever to Duckham. This even fooled the cameraman.

John Bevan scored with an overhead pass. However, the play was ruled forward. Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen are part of a select group that you can only see for pure enjoyment.

Jonah Lomu (AP Photo/Ross Setford)

Fran Cotton stated that Duckham “would have been an icon in the modern game.” He was a magnificent player, and it was so thrilling to watch.

Fergus Slattery made a successful try to get within the line after Sid Going was being harassed and abused by Edwards. Edwards and Going were always at the forefront of the battle, with Sid often winning. However, Edwards won this game.

Sid’s passes weren’t flashy, but that could be because of his combination of Bob Burgess. He probably never had that problem playing with his brother Brian.

Burgess’s fumble from Sid’s poor pass led to Quinnell intercepting Quinnell and John Bevan receiving a Dawes pass. Bevan pushes Williams, Hurst, and Karam off the field, scoring a try that is purely due to his incredible strength.

Cliff Morgan is a master at describing Bevan’s attempt like no other commentator. You won’t believe me if you don’t listen. “So strong, what an attempt” he enforces with such passion.


After scoring the try, Bevan almost runs arrogantly back to his position. JPR Williams and Bevan were likely competing for the best sideboards. The All Blacks were the ones sporting the moustaches.

I was struck by the ball’s “heaviness”, especially when it came to sideline conversions.

Joe Karam’s straight-on-toe kick style earned a penalty that made the score 17-3 in favor of the Barbarians.

The All Blacks scored another great try, a pass from Sid to Burgess, then on to Hurst to Robertson to Bee Gee Williams, who cleaved through BaaBaa’s backline, “stretching and stretching his legs”, then made a typical New Zealand pass to Grant Batty, the winger.

Batty puts the ball down nonchalantly, and then he looks like he’s sledging the opposite player. That’s for sure.

After a chip kick by Ian Hurst, Batty scored a fantastic second try. Despite being booed for standing up for his rights, he picked up the ball and managed to evade JPR Williams with a skillful kick.

Batty, at only 5ft 5″, and 11 stone, was a formidable competitor. He was also a pocket rocket. In 1977, he scored an important intercept try against British Lions but he soon retired due to major knee problems.


David Duckham made another great break, the ball being transferred to Mike Gibson, Fergus Slattery and JPR Williams. JPR Williams then took the ball to JPR Williams who, with a fantastic sidestep, beat Karam to score the try.

Some of the Barbarians sidesteppers were Bennett, Duckham, and Williams.

It was a match-winning try that Phil Bennett sealed with a sideline conversion for a 23-11 victory.

Although it hurt to lose, we all knew that we had seen one of the greatest rugby games. The early 1970’s saw the birth of some of the most talented players in rugby, the Barbarians and Lions teams. This team must be regarded as one of the greatest ever.

The greatest game ever was based on its television experience, such as the All Blacks versus Australia match in 2000 or the unforgettable match in 1973. Judging the whole package.

The 1973 game took place at Cardiff Arms Park. This was once a great ground in rugby world. It was surrounded by passionate Welsh singers. It is inspiring and spine-tingling to hear the singing. It must have been a thrilling experience.

The All Black haka in 1973 was quite embarrassing compared to modern-day versions. However, the crowd enjoyed it.

The game was played in Sydney at Stadium Australia in 2000 with many Kiwis present. It was a wonderful show. The All Black haka, led by Taine Randall, was better than the one from 1973. This was a rehearsal venue for the Olympics that would follow.

The choice between the Welsh singing on a rugby field or being in a crowd of world records holders is probably up to the Welsh.

The commentators often influence the enjoyment of watching TV games at home. Cliff Morgan is the winner, Grant Nisbet must be ashamed. Morgan is biased of course, but he comments with passion. This can be seen by his call for “that try”.

“This is Gareth Edwards. What a dramatic start! Morgan’s Call of the Bevan Try is spine-tingling. “So strong this fellow! What a try!” Take a look!

Cliff Morgan is a great addition to the atmosphere.

Both games were intense and ebbed and flowed with some great tries. The best was “that try”, it had everything: great sidesteps, passing, catching and the brilliance Gareth Edwards. Cliff, it was indeed a score!

The Barbarians failed to score two more spectacular tries, despite Scown’s tackle and a forward pass. John Bevan’s try more than made up for it. He was strong enough to overcome three tackles and score a brilliant try in the corner.

(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

It was then the All Blacks’ turn to score some great tries, both to Grant Batty. He was a genius. JPR Williams won the victory with an amazing sidestep.

Amazingly, there were ten attempts in the 2000 game. While eight of the tries were decent, Marshall and Alatini’s attempts were outstanding.

After a spectacular, impressive run up the sideline of Lomu, he passed to Alatini to sprint to the finish. Justin Marshall’s individual attempt was just as good as John Bevan’s and Batty’s second attempts. It’s difficult to pick between them.

Which of these two games is the best? Both games were played in a completely different environment than the typical Test match. They can be described as “pulsating”

For the spectacle, however, I would vote in 1973 for the game. If only for the reason that I have returned to You Tube the most, it is the game I love the most. It was a great television event, with the exception of the haka and the end result. Cliff Morgan demonstrates how magnificent a game rugby can be when compared to other sports.

Although it hurts to pick a lost game, it will be remembered fondly. Is it your choice?

Published Mon, 19 July 2021 at 20:46:19 (+0000).

This article was originally published at https://www.theroar.com.au/2021/07/20/1973-192000-What-was-thegreatest-games-of-rugbyever/

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2003 or 2000: Which was the greatest rugby game?
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