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All Black fails to apologise for ripping open JPR’s face as he finally speaks out on horror incident


The All Black chargeable for the notorious stamp which ripped open JPR Williams’ face has spoken out on the incident, calling it unlucky. Many would really feel that’s placing it considerably frivolously.

John Ashworth trampled on Williams in the course of the Bridgend v New Zealand match on the Brewery Subject in 1978, leaving the Welsh legend’s face an unpleasant mass of blood. Willliams’ father Peter, a health care provider, inserted 30 stitches in his son’s wounds earlier than the full-back returned to the sphere of play. Steve Fenwick, a team-mate that day, later stated his fellow worldwide “looked like Frankenstein’s monster” after coming again onto the pitch, whereas there was additionally uproar on the post-match dinner when Peter Williams, who was giving a speech, drew consideration to the incident, with 10 All Blacks strolling out.

Now Ashworth has revisited considered one of rugby’s most infamous episodes. In an interview printed with the New Zealand Herald the ex-prop and now winery proprietor turned again the clock to the incident which occurred on a rain-swept December day greater than 43 years in the past. In keeping with Ashworth, no malice was supposed.

“It was unfortunate,” he stated. “JPR was on our side of the ruck with the ball tucked in under his arm. And somehow with me trying to dig it out I made contact [with his face] and things sort of went pretty crazy for a while after that.”



A blood-soaked JPR Williams leaves the sphere for therapy after being stamped on whereas taking part in for Bridgend towards New Zealand in 1978


JPR Williams leaves the sphere for therapy after his horrific damage whereas Graham Mourie, proper, and Lyndon Thomas present concern

Some would possibly describe lacking a bus or burning a bit of toast as unlucky, however, hey ho, phrases can imply various things to completely different individuals. Definitely, Williams himself has his personal views on what occurred, later saying: “He came in and raked me, tearing a huge hole in my cheek. I lost two pints of blood and had to get 30 stitches.”

It was all an excessive amount of for JPR’s father, then Bridgend RFC’s president, who stated throughout his post-match speech that incidents witnessed in the course of the match made him remorse encouraging his sons to take an curiosity in rugby. His remarks prompted the All Blacks to move for the exit door.

In keeping with Ashworth, he was ordered to not be part of them by Bridgend’s “tough front row”. “The Welsh guys said, ‘You are not going anywhere. We are going to drink a bit of p**s together’,” he claimed.

Solely later did All Blacks workforce supervisor Russ Thomas realise the participant who was by no means going to win any recognition contests in Bridgend that night time — or ever since, for that matter — was lacking. “Russ Thomas came rushing back thinking I was in some sort of situation, but there I was sitting with the Bridgend opposition having a few beers,” he stated.

Joyful days? Not instantly after the match, gained 17-6 by New Zealand. There was greater than a contact of unwell feeling following a sport which had been punctuated by sledging. Issues boiled over in the bathroom space of the dressing rooms when a Bridgend ahead queried aloud whether or not All Blacks prop Kent Lambert spelled his first identify like a similar-sounding expletive.

“There have been just a few shenanigans after the match,” Fenwick’s midfield companion that day, the massively revered Lyndon Thomas, later instructed WalesOnline. “One among our boys made a comment which didn’t precisely go down effectively and when an objection got here in, he instructed the bloke in query to go forth and multiply or one thing near that. There was by no means a query of anybody backing down as a result of we have been up towards the All Blacks.”

A postscript played out in 2008 when a tourist to Ashworth’s vineyard informed his Kiwi host that he knew Williams. A bottle of wine was duly dispatched to the Vale of Glamorgan as a peace offering, but it failed to do the trick. “I needs to be grateful however I gained’t be sending him a Christmas card,” Williams had said.

When the 40th anniversary passed in 2018, the great No. 15 was still waiting for someone to utter the word ‘sorry’. “I’ve by no means had an apology,” he told WalesOnline. “New Zealand even named him as an alternative choice to the sport with the Barbarians the next Saturday, a case of rubbing salt within the wound if ever there was one. The match ended with the gang booing. The wine? A bottle of white wine was delivered to my home years later. It did not style that good.”

Williams is remembered the world over for his fearlessness on a rugby pitch and epic deeds. A team man to his core, he played for Bridgend as he did for Wales, with total commitment in everything he did.

“He was a Welsh full-back with out peer,” contends Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union. “Indomitable earlier than thundering forwards whose power he might match together with his personal (6ft 1in and 15st 5lb), he made crowds, everywhere in the world, suck of their breath to see him leap to pluck a excessive ball from the air when opponents superior on him. His defence by no means flinched.”

His bravery in returning to the field of play for Bridgend against New Zealand all those years ago only enhanced his standing in the eyes of many. A heartfelt apology from the All Blacks and the man who left him with such injuries back then was the least he deserved. Truly, a bottle of wine goes only so far.

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