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Watch: The moment Gareth Edwards’ shirt sold for a world record amount

24 Feb 2023 3 minute read
Gareth Edwards’ ionic Barbarians shirt which has sold for a world record £240,000 at auction

The shirt that Gareth Edwards wore when scoring THAT try for the Barbarians against the All Blacks in 1973, has sold for a world record amount at auction.

The BaaBaas shirt went under the hammer at a Cardiff-based auction house and finally sold for £240,000.

The previous world record in terms of rugby memorabilia stood at £180,000, paid for the New Zealand rugby shirt worn by captain Dave Gallaher on the 1905-06 British Isles tour.

Gallaher’s shirt was sold by auctioneers Rogers Jones Co in 2015 and the same team prepared for a new world record with the famous black and white hooped number 9 jersey worn by Edwards fifty years ago.

This is the moment the shirt was sold to much applause.

Since Edwards is generally acknowledged to be the greatest rugby player of all time, the ’73 Barbarians v New Zealand match is often cited as the greatest match in history, and the scrum-half’s opening score has been lauded for half a century as the greatest try ever scored, then the jersey he wore that day must rank among the most iconic of all.

The match itself was considered a ‘de facto’ Fifth Test, following on from the British and Irish Lions victory in New Zealand in 1971. Twelve of that Barbarians team had toured in ’71, although it was a newcomer – Phil Bennett – who started the most famous sequence of events ever seen on a rugby pitch. It is a passage of play intrinsically linked to Cliff Morgan’s unforgettable commentary:

“This is great stuff…Phil Bennett covering, chased by Alistair Scown. Brilliant! Oh, that’s brilliant! John Williams, Bryan Williams. Pullin… John Dawes, great dummy…To David, Tom David, the half-way line…Brilliant by Quinnell! This is Gareth Edwards! A dramatic start! What a score! Oh, that fellow Edwards!”

That most famous of tries also feels intrinsically Welsh, scored at the home of Welsh rugby, with six of the seven players involved being Welshmen at the height of their powers. Even the Welsh language plays its part in the story, with Edwards recounting how his shout to Derek Quinnell: “Twl e’ma!” – throw it here – were the words that prompted the final pass. The game ended in a 23 – 11 win to the Barbarians, with Edwards’ opening try sparking a feast of running rugby which still ranks as the best exhibition ever seen of what the game has to offer at the highest level.

And so to the prize itself, the match jersey worn by Edwards had an estimated value of £150,000 – £200,000.

The Barbarians jersey is a part of Edwards’ personal collection – 39 items in all – which will go up for auction today at Rogers Jones Co’s Cardiff base.

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1 year ago

Just make sure you don’t put it in the wash with a pair of red socks.

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