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Watch: The stunning new poem marking the 50th anniversary of Llanelli’s victory over the All Blacks

01 Nov 2022 2 minute read
Llanelli were not to be overawed by the mighty All Blacks (Credit: A Richards Photography)

Writer Owen Thomas has created the stunning poem Into a Life to mark the 50th anniversary of Llanelli’s legendary victory over the All Blacks.

Thomas is clearly a man who knows and loves his his rugby, having written the acclaimed plays Grav, about Welsh and Llanelli legend Ray Gravel and Carwyn, about Carwyn James, who coached both Llanelli and the British Lions.

Gravel, who played at centre was a member of the Llanelli team, coached by James that created rugby history by beating a formidable touring All Blacks side at Stradey Park in October 1972, a try from centre Roy Bergiers and kicks from Phil Bennett and Andy Hill securing the historic 9-3 win.

Remarkably, James had been the coach of the British and Irish Lions the previous year in New Zealand, leading them to a first ever series win.

Actor Gareth J Bale, who starred in Grav brings Thomas’s new work to vivid life and delivers a fitting commemoration of Llanelli’s legendary feat.


A winning team

Owen Thomas and Gareth J Bale have been working together for 20 years since they were randomly paired in a script slam at the Sherman. They decided to carry on working together, a partnership which yielded a roll call of critically acclaimed works.

Amongst them, Grav, a one-man play on the life of Ray Gravell, written by Thomas and starring Bale, which reprised its successful initial tour this year by going to the Edinburgh festival, and the TV adaptation won Best Feature/TV at this year’s BAFTA Cymru Awards.

Continuing to mine the rugby-greats vein, Thomas wrote the story of Carwyn James which Bale directed, with Simon Nehan filling the onstage boots of the man himself.

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