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CAPTAIN : DIL JOHNSON
MOST APPEARANCES : 36 (TREVOR PETHERBRIDGE)
MOST TRIES : 17 (TEIFION WILLIAMS)
MOST POINTS : 52 (JOHN FAULL)
WALES CAPS :
v NZ : Clem Thomas & ‘Billy’ Williams
v E : Clem Thomas & ‘Billy’ Williams
v I : Clem Thomas & ‘Billy’ Williams
v F : Clem Thomas & ‘Billy’ Williams
v S : Clem Thomas & ‘Billy’ Williams
The highlight of the season featured a game against the touring New Zealand team on 12 December 1953. Swansea rose to the occasion magnificently in front of a partisan 40,000 crowd to secure an excellent 6-6 draw. Swansea’s points coming from the boot of 20 year old centre John Faull.
Collage of the Swansea team who drew with New Zealand in 1953 – Club Archive.
The reminiscence below of the famous 6 – 6 draw with the ‘All Blacks’ on 12th December 1953 was kindly submitted by former All White and Welsh International, the late Horace Phillips who played for Swansea that day. His photo can be seen on the commemorative plaque to the match in the main bar along with the rest of the team. Find out about Horace Phillips and other Swansea players in the ‘Past Players’ via the’Teams’ tab at the top of the page.
“The 1953-54 season started with more than the usual excitement of a new season. Old and new faces appeared at pre-season training, hoping to impress the selectors that they were worthy of selection against the “All Blacks” who were due at St Helens in December.
During the three months leading up to the tourists’ match, there were various combinations tried to find the strongest side to challenge New Zealand.
The selection when it came was not without controversy. Having only played two or three games for the ‘Whites’ John Faull, barely a teenager was selected to play in the centre. The team selected contained five Internationals (four forwards and one three quarter).
It was predicted in the days leading up to the match that it was going to be an easy win for New Zealand. The prediction was based on the fact that the team chosen by New Zealand was probably the one to face Wales the following week.
The roar from the forty thousand crowd as the Whites took the field was tremendous and told us that the ‘Great Day’ had arrived. Soon after the match started Swansea were awarded a penalty and the Skipper Dil Johnson asked John Faull to kick for goal. The position was almost on the halfway line and very close to the left hand touchline. I well remember the occasion as I was stood directly behind John as he took the kick. I knew immediately that the kick was successful as there was a distinct singing sound as the boot struck the leather. The ball sailed between the posts. This was followed by two tries by Alan Elsom. Before half-time Swansea were awarded another penalty in almost the same position as the first. This again was successful and the first half came to an end with the match tied at six points each.
In the second-half Swansea defended their line tenaciously and forced the ‘All Blacks’ to attempt drop-goals, none of which were successful, and the match ended in a draw.
Swansea had again maintained the tradition of giving a touring team a game to remember.”
By Horace Phillips 2007.
Surviving members of the team that drew 6 – 6 with the 1953 All Blacks photographed in 2006 outside the Swansea RFC pavilion. Back row left to right: Trevor Petherbridge, W.O.G. Williams, Horace Phillips, Jim Rees. Foreground skipper of the Swansea team Dil Johnson (left) and John Faull who kicked 6 points from inside his own half. – Courtesy Gayle Marsh SWEP.