Sunday, June 19, 2022

phil yer boots

I note that after the sad death of Welsh rugby legend Phil Bennett last week his legendary try against Scotland in the last game of the 1977 Five Nations Championship has, as the kids say, "gone viral". So I thought a bit of wholly unnecessary micro-analysis might be in order.
Firstly, yes, yes, all right, the pass from Bennett to Burcher about halfway through the move was probably forward, albeit marginally (and Bill McLaren does say as much during the replay on the BBC coverage).

Secondly, for all the excitement of the build-up - Fenwick's starting the move off after getting the ball from JPR Williams, Gerald Davies' side-steps and hand-off, Bennett's intervention, Burcher's improvised quarterback-style overhead pass - the real magic happens within the space of about a second just after all this. Firstly Steve Fenwick has to wait for Burcher's floaty pass to arrive and then ship it straight on pronto before being ploughed into the turf by a Scotsman:

And then, just after this, it's easy to miss just how much work Bennett still has to do to get past the last two Scottish defenders:

Lastly, even as Bennett touches down and the crowd, and Bill McLaren, go wild, note how David Burcher keeps it real by deeming the try worthy of a prolonged celebration amounting to a single clap before pulling himself together after such an unseemly emotional outburst and trotting back to the halfway line for the conversion. Different times.

Wales won the game 18-9, by the way, giving them the second of four consecutive Triple Crowns, two of which were upgraded to Grand Slams, including Bennett's last Wales game against France the following year in which he scored two tries. 

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