Neath v New Zealand – 25th Anniversary Celebration

Neath Rugby Supporters Club is to host a commemoration evening to mark the 25th anniversary of the memorable Neath v New Zealand game in October 1989.

The evening will look back at that memorable game in the company of Wales coach, Warren Gatland, who was part of the New Zealand touring squad that day. Also sharing his memories of that day, will be former Neath full back Paul Thorburn.  The game will also be re-run in its entirety on the big screens.

The celebration will be held on Friday 24th October at the Gnoll clubhouse with the game being re-run on the big screens from 7:30pm. Tickets cost £5 for Neath Rugby Supporters Club members and £8 for non-members. Tickets are limited and are available from the supporters club table in the clubhouse before or after Saturday’s game with Llandovery.

Come and join us as we look back at one of the most memorable games in Neath’s rugby history.

In October 1989, during their tour of Wales, mighty New Zealand took on Neath at the Gnoll. The New Zealanders were reigning world champions and contained some of the finest players ever to play the game – Fitzpatrick, Whetton, Jones, Shelford, Brooke, Fox and Little to name a few.

Even though Neath were the most feared club side in the country and featured the likes of Brian Williams, Kevin Phillips, Mark Jones and Paul Thorburn they weren’t expected to pose to much of a treat to the world champions.

It seemed the whole town crammed into the Gnoll on that Wednesday afternoon, and the ground was rocking with an incredible atmosphere. Those other All Blacks were stunned and the noise got even louder once Alan Edmunds scored a sensational try in the corner and the crowd began to believe that Neath might pull off one of the biggest shocks in rugby history.

Sadly, the win didn’t materialise, but Neath had given New Zealand an almighty scare. It led New Zealand’s tour captain, the legendary Wayne Shelford to say “The atmosphere at the Neath ground in that midweek match was unbelievable. They were packed into that little ground like sardines and although there were only 10,000 of them it sounded like 100,000. I don’t usually find crowds and the noise they generate that daunting. But I have to admit sitting in the stands watching the boys against a fired-up Neath was a real experience. The grandstand was almost rocking.”

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