Grown men were in tears… it was unbelievable: From smashing Skinner to bashing Burgess, Wales love nothing more than beating England at Twickenham
- Wales travel to Twickenham to face England in the Six Nations on March 7
- Wales have won just five times in the last 35 years at the home of their rivals
- Their most recent win saw them dump out England at the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Welsh triumphs at Twickenham are rare but much-celebrated occasions.
With just five in the last 35 years, Sportsmail spoke to those involved in the most recent victories and were told tales of booze-ups, slagging-matches and special days where welsh dragons breathed fire at England’s fortress.
1984 FIVE NATIONS WALES WON 24-15 – EDDIE BUTLER
We had lost at home to Scotland and France but won in Dublin. England was the last game, so pressure was on. If you don’t win at home you hear the gnashing of teeth.
Scotland won the Grand Slam and because England had only won once as well coming into the final game it was not as dramatic. England at Twickenham still stirs the juices.
The Miners’ Strike had happened barely weeks before but it did not feel as toxic as 1980 – when Paul Ringer was sent-off and there was an evil atmosphere in the air.
Because that had kicked off so badly everyone was wagging their fingers – whatever is burning between the countries, don’t let it spill over again.
The coach John Bevan said: ‘If we’ve any chance we’re going to have to play.. Don’t get bogged down in what’s gone before.’ We finally clicked.
Lock Bob Norster played against Steve Bainbridge who was a hell of a size, but Bob had a great standing jump and kept picking off England’s throw.
Finally England won one and a huge cheer went up – we thought ‘we’ve almost turned the crowd against them’.
The Welsh support was spectacular those days; there was no sense of a hostile environment, it was rammed with Welsh.
Malcolm Dacey played outside-half and dropped two goals. I had a little hand in the Adrian Hadley try – lolloping down the pitch after Bleddyn Bowen had sold a dummy. I nearly dropped his pass and gave one that may have been forward to Adrian who scored.
Dacey – Wilf as he is known – was a non-drop-goal specialist who gave us breathing space. It was a day of many surprises. We partied hard afterwards at the grand dinner. They were always good fun.
1988 FIVE NATIONS WALES WON 11-3 – JONATHAN ‘JIFFY’ DAVIES
We loved Twickenham and the bus ride in. The West Car Park is always nice with the English fans with their picnic baskets shouting from their Range Rovers and Rolls Royces! You don’t need any motivation when you drive through that car park.
Mark Ring had a telegram from Spike Milligan beforehand. It just said ‘Smash the English bastards!’
The weather was perfect for us. We went in with four No 10s. Anthony Clement played full-back, Ring and Bleddyn Bowen were in the centres and I was fly-half.
We wanted to throw it about and move the English pack around but it was close and 0-0 at half-time.
I should’ve scored early-doors but Jonathan Webb caught me. Eventually we created a couple of lovely tries for Adrian Hadley. I dropped an easy goal to make sure.
Micky Skinner was chasing me all game – to no avail unfortunately for him! When I went past him I would say ‘goodbye!’ He never caught me so it was fine!
I also hurt my ankle and one of the England doctors tried to take me off. We had another player injured so our physio was looking after him.
I was like ‘bugger off, I’ll run it off!’ It was an eventful day.
The function was at the Hilton hotel got a bit raucous. Staff Jones tackled a committee man at the dinner and Glen Webbe had this laughing box that he kept putting on during the dinner which upset Skinner.
Next thing they had an arm-wrestle outside and Webbey smashed him! It wasn’t the best of days for Micky that.
Jonathan Davies runs with the ball during Wales’ memorable win over England in 1988
2008 SIX NATIONS WALES WON 26-19 – ADAM JONES
At the 2007 World Cup we lost to Fiji and England had made the final.
Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards cut through the ambiguity about our style of play and said ‘this is the way we want to defend, if you don’t like it bugger off’.
We didn’t know how good we were going to be in 2008. Gats picked 13 Ospreys for the game – which was a master-stoke – we were the best region and ran the ‘blitz’ defence he wanted.
Gats gave us confidence. He convinced us we were working harder than anyone else – you’re pretty sure you’re not, but we had faith in him and genuinely thought we were.
Maybe that two weeks of fitness paid off with our comeback from 19-6 down.
Shaun was very intense. He’d recently split-up with Heather Small, the M People singer, so Tom Shanklin put their ‘Best Of’ album on over the speakers on the way to training. Shaun took it well and took the piss back!
Shaun gave us belief. Before half-time we managed to keep England out. Huw Bennett held up a potential try – if England had scored it would’ve been a bridge too far.
We had good attackers in Shane Williams, Lee Byrne, James Hook and Sonny Parker so knew we had a chance.
I was off when Mike Phillips scored – when you’re subbed you’re often too knackered to do anything – but I got excited. It was like Dumb and Dumber ‘so you’re telling me there’s a chance?!’
We had gone through the barren spell and won for the first time in 20 years there.
On the wall after games they would list how many tackles, carries, runs you made with a note underneath.
Our flanker Jon Thomas had run a line off 9 in between the 15 metre-lines, which only the front-five were meant to do, Jonny Wilkinson tackled him and knocked him out.
His note read: ‘shouldn’t be running that line. Got what he deserved.’ It left us in no illusions as to what the coaches wanted!
Gats and Shaun kept feet on the ground – although Gats did sing ‘Wonderful Tonight’ by Eric Clapton on the bus home! It was pretty good!
It was a massive win that propelled us to the Grand Slam.
2012 SIX NATIONS WALES WON 19-12 – ADAM JONES
We had to walk through the Twickenham car park. It’s hardly Lofus Versfeld in Pretoria – Twickenham is a literally walk in the park compared to that! It’s not intimidating in the slightest!
England-Wales games aren’t quite the same as in the 1970s when you had the Phil Bennett speech ‘look what theses bastards have done to Wales’ about closing the mines.
That’s a massive part of our history – for example if my grandmother saw Margaret Thatcher’s face on TV she’d go red – but those days are gone.
You don’t really worry about intimidation now.
Our 2011 World Cup had gone well and were on for the Triple Crown and Grand Slam in 2012. They had rock-stars Alex Corbisiero, Dylan Hartley and Dan Cole in the front-row.
I remember a 21-year-old Owen Farrell playing. After Rhys Priestland got yellow-carded we went into pick-and-go mode to run the clock down – and when we looked up each time Farrell was standing next to a ruck goading our forwards to carry into him!
It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. I was on a latch with Alun Wyn Jones once and Owen was shouting ‘Come and have it mate’ at Alun Wyn… or along those lines…
I thought ‘I am pretty sure Barry John and Phil Bennett wouldn’t be doing this!’ It blew my mind.
I didn’t know Owen at the time, but I went up to Andy Farrell afterwards and said ‘your son was f****** outstanding today’.
Scott Williams ripped the ball of Courtney Lawes for his try. Ian Evans got stuck into Lawes after that!
It was a great day, the first time we’d won a Triple Crown at Twickenham – it doesn’t get much bigger than that – but knew we had France to finish so again didn’t go too mad afterwards.
Adam Jones roars with delight during Wales’ stunning win at Twickenham in 2012
2015 WORLD CUP WON 28-25 – JAMIE ROBERTS
One stand-out was the selection of Sam Burgess. I remember England naming their side and I walked past Rob Howley in our Weybridge hotel and we were both smiling. We were delighted.
He was playing a massive game as an inexperienced centre on the biggest stage. We knew we could exploit him.
You don’t need a bigger motivation to beat England at Twickenham, but add the fact that it was a World Cup the chance to spoil their party was a huge one. It was an incredible game.
Just before half-time we had a lineout on our own 40m line. I said to Dan Biggar to play and hit Scott Williams outside me as we knew Burgess was at 12. It worked an absolute treat, we made a 50m line-break, won a penalty and Dan kicked it for 19-12 at half-time.
The lads were dropping like flies! Liam Williams got concussed, Hallam Amos dislocated his shoulder handing someone off so scrum-half Lloyd Williams ended up on the wing and provided that famous kick for Gareth Davies’ try.
I moved to Harlequins later that year had a good laugh with Chris Robshaw his decision to go for the lineout late on. He’s a great man.
My brother was cameraman that day, so I got to share the moment with him and we took a few photos.
Walking out the Lion gates post-match I bumped into a close group of mates. They were all pissed up and full of joy.
Near the bus I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many grown men in tears – it was unbelievable.
I’ve never experienced love like it from the supporters. Beating England at Twickenham is a special thing, but to do it on that stage made it even better.
We had a four-day turnaround before we played Fiji, so there was no celebrating for us; back the hotel in Cardiff and the cryotherapy chambers as we were so beaten up!
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