January 27, 1973 – Ireland 10 New Zealand 10
A kind of breakthrough but on Monday, nobody talked about the game. For the first time, the Irish rugby team avoided defeat against New Zealand. And for a few intoxicating seconds, as Barry McGann's penchant, a last-minute conversion from famous Tom Grace tried to sail through the afternoon, the prospect of a debut victory down at Lansdowne.
But: a gust of wind, the ball swung a vital one or two inches astray and the match ended in a draw. The real world infiltrated again. And that's just sports. During the match, a bomb exploded, at 3:20 a.m., at Sackville Place near O’Connell Street. Tommy Douglas, a young bus conductor, was killed. Tommy is Scottish: his mother is from Achill Island. He had been in town for several months and was another victim of a terrible time.
"Hopefully those days are behind us," said Wallace McMasters, who lined up at the back of Ireland with fellow Ulster Mike Gibson that day.
"Some teams did not appear in those years. Wasn't the England captain in a dinner speech and said that we might not be a very good team but at least always appeared? "
Past. John Pullin, an extraordinary farmer from Aust in Gloucestershire. At '72, Wales and Scotland have refused to travel to Dublin for the Five Nations match, citing threats from paramilitaries. England Tarikin traveled and was beaten properly. In January 73, New Zealand rugby players, of course, realized that they had arrived on a small, cracked island. But another 43 years will pass before it appears that an official IRA letter has been sent to Bob Burgess, the first five-eighth All Blacks, detailing that while they will do their best to ensure the safety of the tour party, they cannot & # 39; t guarantee the intent & # 39; Provo & # 39 ;.
Burgess gave the letter to reporters Lynn McConnell and Tony Johnson for their book Behind Perak Pakis.
"We will take steps to try and ensure your safety because we do not trust Provos (our September September group)," said that. "There is no immunity that can be extended to any British team. So we can assure you that it's for good reason that Scottish and Welsh people don't come here. With suggestions, we advise you not to talk about politics. "
In November, 72, during the first weeks of their tour, tourists visited Belfast to play Ulster. "We trained at Ballymena, north of Belfast and it snowed," Burgess told the authors. "Lord, it's cold, snow on the ground and British military forces are all armed with machine guns that they are happy to show us." At Ravenhill, they received a very warm welcome: it was clear that their presence was very meaningful. "There is an uneasy feeling that what we are doing is politics and that we are used other than to just be a football game."
In 1973, Ireland's long record of losing to New Zealand was unavoidable.
"That fact makes us try harder," McMasters said.
"We have a good side around it. We have won the championship and we know each other's games and if we beat New Zealand, that's the time. We have many people like Willie John and Kiernan … people who came towards the end of their era. And everyone is trapped because it will be their last chance to have this opportunity and we want to do everything we can to win. "
January 1973 was a significant month in Ireland: the country officially entered the EEC together with the United Kingdom in Denmark, the 5th Amendment to the constitution, abolished & # 39; the special position of the Catholic Church & # 39; into law.
Defeating the All-Blacks will increase the sense of a moving country. The day was windy and the Lansdowne field had heavy midwinter. It was the era of Led Zeppelin hair coats and wool coats. The players from the two teams looked as if they didn't care about the visit to the barber for some time. The New Zealand attack game revolves around the pulsating run of Grant Batty, their winger who likes to light the infield and the light power of their half scrum, Sid Going, which emerges from rolling to create the first trial of nothingness.
"They are all big strong people: the type of south island farmers and people who work physically and play their rugby," McMasters said.
"They are all very hard and strong. They are not in the gym, they will come out shaving sheep and so on. So they are naturally very strong and physical. And I must say: there is no dirt with them. Not necessary because they are strong enough to manage without entering luggage and doing anything unwanted. "
His score was 10-3 late in what was a healthy physical game when Ireland came up with a perfect final blow. First, Tom Kiernan collected a long distance from defender Joe Karam and, rather than returning the kick, the veteran cut in a tackling, made a deviant pass and began to move which ended with Alex's desperate tackle. Wylie on Mike Gibson.
Improvisation is enough to cause chaos on the old ground: when the players roll to enter the formation for lineout, you can see teenagers jumping up and down on the touchline and one lad race to give John Moloney, Irish scrum half, big pat on back, before running with his hands lifted triumphantly. No one pays a little notice: almost no servants are seen.
You can see how cold it is from the front row of the audience: the blankets kneel, people cup their hands and blow hard. Then: violations on the outside lines. And then: a penalty from Scrum when Going is punished for not putting the ball straight. McGann landed a penalty and now 10-6 and the game is up for grabs. Karam sends a restart directly to touch and from Scrum on the halfway line comes one of the green witch moments that hasn't been announced.
There is nothing striking in the concept: Moloney goes to the other side and snaps the bait to Tom Grace, who pits forward. That's an impoliteness that bothers you. "This could be a lottery," warned the BBC commentator when Grace flew in a race against the All Blacks division. "This could be drawing! Can he go there? Can he go there? The ball is dead, I guess. "That does not. Grace swooped on the ball even when half of the crowd swooped at her. Dozens of happy Irish supporters have attacked the field now, flooding the winger, who runs back to his position.
It was one of the episodes of delirious frenzy, Hamilton's performers against Australia at '91 and Geoghegan at Twickenham in' 94. The atmosphere is anarchic and brilliant. However, the conversion task was terrible: flooding the right touch line and becoming a spinning and unreliable Lansdowne wind. McGann's kick is very true that no matter how many times you watch replays, you believe it will end until that doesn't happen.
New Zealand Ian Kikpatrick took off and might calmly leave the cold and troubled land behind them. They will meet four Irish teams just a week later: McBride, Gibson, Fergus Slattery and Ray McLoughlin are on the Barbarians team who gather at Cardiff Arms Park and make up & # 39; the biggest trial of all time, a big score of unquenchable expertise and the invincible chasm was one of the symbolic moments of the entire 1970s.
IRELAND: T Kiernan; T Grace, M Flynn, M Gibson, A McMaster; B McGann, J Moloney; R McLoughlin, K Kennedy, S Lynch; WJ McBride, K Mays; J Davidson, F Slattery; T Moore.
NEW ZEALAND: J Karam; B Williams, B Robertson, I'm Hurst, G Batty; I'm Stevens, S Going; G Whiting, T Norton, K Lambert; P Whiting, H Macdonald; A Wylie, I Kirkpatrick; A Sutherland.