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CAPTAIN : MIKE THOMAS
MOST APPEARANCES : 47 (STUART FERGUSON)
MOST TRIES : 13 (DAVID WEAVER)
MOST POINTS : 214 (STUART FERGUSON)
WALES CAPS :
v A : Dewi Bebb
v S : Dewi Bebb
v I : Dewi Bebb
v F : Dewi Bebb
v E : Dewi Bebb
On 26th November 1966 at St Helens, Swansea defeated the Australian touring team by 9 points to 8. The Swansea scorers were: Mike Thomas (1 Try), B Diment (1 Drop Goal), Stuart Ferguson (1 Penalty Kick). The Australian points came from: Greg Davis (1 Try), Alan Cardy (1 Try) and J Lenehan (1 Conv.). After two defeats at the hands of the Austalian touring sides, “The Whites” turned the tables in this match by winning by a single point. Well led by Mike Thomas, “The Whites” played out of their skins. However, most observers felt that it was apon the tactical genius of Clive Rowlands that the victory was forged.
Features of the game included a splendid drop goal by outside-half Diment and brilliant defensive work by the two Davies’ (Stuart and John) in the centre and by Ferguson at full-back. Outstanding for the Wallabies were Davies, Cardy, Lenehan and Catchpole.
Former Swansea player and Captain Stuart Davies has kindly submitted the following article as a reminiscence of the famous win over the Australian tourists in this season:
Swansea 9 v Australia 8
November 26th 1966
My memories of the game against Australia are a mixture of the vague and the unforgettable but first, it is important to put this victory into an historic and factual context.
Swansea had not beaten a major touring side since the famous victory over the 1935 All Blacks and our record of winning only 18 of the 48 matches played in 1966 / 67 bears out the fact that we were hardly a power in the land at that time! Nevertheless, our team included three internationals in David Weaver on the wing and the legendary Dewi Bebb and Clive Rowlands.
Australia were noted for their back play and prompted by the infamous Ken Catchpole, they preferred to spread the ball out wide. As they were playing Wales the following week, they also fielded most of their Test pack.
Basically, we stopped them playing. Every man rose to the occasion, played his part and tackled anything that moved to enable us to emerge victorious. One incident in the game stands out in my memory. Mike Thomas, our captain and a vastly underrated flanker, was given the full treatment by the Aussie pack as they believed that Mike had spied on one of their training sessions earlier in the week. Mike had to leave the field for prolonged treatment and the referee, O. P. Bevan of Merthyr, asked me, as the vice-captain, whether we were now reorganised so that he could restart the game. There was another party to the conversation, a certain D.C.T.Rowlands who, looking imploringly at me said “ Yes, Ossie, we are organised! “ and promptly took control.
O.P.Bevan was castigated by the Australian management for allowing Swansea to continually transgress the offside rule, particularly the centre partnership of 20 year old John Davies and myself, a 23 year old veteran. The Aussies took defeat badly and were well over an hour late in arriving at the offical reception and dinner at the Osborne Hotel in Langland. However, even this had its plus points , because as it was a Welsh Rugby Union function, the drinks at the reception beforehand were free and needless to say, after a famous victory, we took full advantage of their hospitality.
The following week, Australia beat Wales by 14 points to 11 in Cardiff.
We now live in an age where even a village Under 8’s have sponsors names on their jerseys and tracksuits and trophies are handed out willy-nilly to all and sundry. As an illustration of how much sport has changed, the kit for the match was provided by the W.R.U. but we were only allowed to keep the stockings!! The plain white jerseys and shorts ( tracksuits were not commonplace in those days) were utilised by the club for the remainder of the season. Even more bizarrely, an official photograph was due to be taken of the team in our blazers later in the season, and despite the fact that Mike Thomas and Dai Davies , the second-row, were ill and unable to attend, the photograph was taken anyway (see below)…..
However, nothing could detract from what was a wonderful occasion and from something which we will all remember with pride and fondness for the rest of our lives.
Above: Alan Cardy scores Australia’s second Try supported by John Brass.
Above: Australian Hooker Johnson tackled by Roy Thomas.
Above: Ken Catchpole about to pass to Alan Cardy (No4).
Above: Mike Thomas scores for Swansea. No6 – Geoff Atherton, No4 – Alan Cardy.
Above: Ken Catchpole, challenged by Clive Rowlands and Geoff Atherton.
Above: Greg Davis scores for Australia although tackled by Clive Rowlands.