The 1960's, 1970's and 1980's were the years of the sidesteps boom. Leading the way were any number of Welsh backline players.
For reasons not entirely clear, but touched on in early sidesteps, Welsh players were the outstanding sidesteppers in this boom period.
Outside-half during the sidesteps boom, a key position for...
There are many mentions of a Welsh "outside-half factory".
The names (with Wikipedia links) frequently include...
|Cliff Morgan||29||1951 - 1958 (pre-boom)|
|Carwyn James||2||1958 - 1958 (pre-boom)|
|David Watkins||21||1963 - 1967|
|Barry John||25||1966 - 1972|
|Phil Bennett||29||1969 - 1978|
|Jonathan Davies||28||1985 - 1988|
All the above players were renowned for their evasive qualities.
Carwyn said great things - and has a great way of saying them!
In his artcle Frank Keating uses a couple of words I had to look up..."apercu" and "percipience"
In this intersting artcle on BBC Sport, David tells several interesting and amusing anecdotes about his experiences.
They include the Barbarians, his David and Goliath tussle with Colin Meads when the British Lions played the New Zealand All Blacks in 1966 and about going to League.
Other outstanding, elusive Welsh players....
|Gerald Davies||46||1966 - 1978|
|Gareth Edwards||53||1967 - 1978|
|JPR Williams||55||1969 - 1981|
|Iuean Evans||72||1987 - 1998|
When I Googled "phil larder defence" I found the document "defense_all.doc" at rugbycoach.homestead.com.
It records Phil Larder`s views in relation to David Watkins , another star of the sidesteps boom period, who had gone across to League. Larder played against Watkins and had problems containing him.
Gerald Davies, referring to a club game Llanelli v Irish Wolfhounds says this about D Ken Jones,
...,he scored a try which, for sure footed wizardry, I've yet to see surpassed.Welsh Rugby Scrapbook, Gerald Davies, 1978 page 21
He goes on to say that D Ken Jones had fanned the flames after Carwyn James had sparked his interest in sidesteps.
Gerald Davies, referring to the Barbarians v All Blacks game, says the Phil Bennett sidesteps that day were similar to ones Bennett produced in almost any game he played at his home ground, Stradey Park.Welsh Rugby Scrapbook, Gerald Davies, 1978 page 77
He also said Bennett was a magical player to watch and that he hoped many children had seen Bennett because children are great imitators and it would benefit Welsh rugby.
Another interesting article about the 1973 Barbarians game is in the Guardian newspaper - Why this game was the finest ever played
It confirms there was no forward pass - the ref was right there!
Gareth Edwards confides he is worried that coaching will be detrimental to the great individual evasion skills his generation possessed.
(It would appear his fears were well founded)
He also says that players without skills like dummies and sidesteps lack options and are easy to defend against.
His opinion is that outstanding individual talents and organisation are neccessary for success and is not convinced that the skill will survive the coaching process.GARETH An Autobiography, Gareth Edwards, 1978 page 155
Of course there were players of other nationalities - but not nearly as plentiful.
There is plenty to see of Duckham in the Barbarians v All Blacks 1973 game mentioned elsewhere on this site.
His elusive sidestepping style so endeared him to the Welsh that he is reported to be known affectionately in Wales as Dai Duckham (Dai being the Welsh equivalent of David)
The Australia v All Blacks 3rd Test at Eden Park, Aukland in 1978 features on the ABC DVD "Rugby in the 70s".
In that game the third of Greg Cornelsen's 4 tries is scored as a direct result of a Ken Wright sidestep.
Missing out Melrose, Hipwell gets the ball away to Ken Wright at centre who slices through the All Blacks defence with a superb sidestep.
Commentator - "Oh what a sidestep, Ken Wright". DVD player reads 2:6 42:30
a tremendous footballer
He reports that although Du Preez was tall and weighed sixteen stones
...he could sidestep and swerve like a six-foot Gerald Davies.
Shortly after, Edwards goes on to say
Sadly my admiration for Du Preez was then shattered in the second test....
- but that's another story.GARETH An Autobiography, Gareth Edwarsa, 1978 page 76
So there you have it - a small part of the sidesteps boom.
Now get one of your own...