Fifty years ago, Cardiff Arms Park.
Personal memories of the tour are disappointment that Cardiff were overwhelmed by players who were far bigger than the usual opponents at the Arms Park. The politics went over the head of [this] /a young boy whose questions were to find answers later….[emphasis added].
Those protesting in 1969-70 – the Stop the Seventy Tour was chaired by Peter Hain and one of the organisers in Scotland was Gordon Brown – were written off by the rugby media here as idealists and do-gooders, irritants who did not understand rugby union’s fraternity.
The likes of Barry John, Phil Bennett and Tony Ward, impish 10s dowsed in devilry, were considered obsolete as Jonny Wilkinson, all structure and sinew, pocketed the keys to No10. The romantic age was over, faded into black and white. There was no space to drift into and fly-halves became the executors of someone else’s will.
Barrett and George Ford are hardly throwbacks to John and Bennett, but neither are they Jonny-come-latelys. They are, in the grand traditions of fly-halves, the masters of opportunity.