Barry John — the right kind of royalty

Few things bring home the cruelty of the relentless march of Father Time than the death of a sporting hero.  Since Barry John died on Sunday, flickering and grainy images of his supernatural like footwork, effortless grace and bewildering balance have flooded social media like a twentieth century memento mori.  The death of those we care about, whether those we knew personally or those we only admired from afar, always…

Essential book published on historic failings of Welsh Rugby Union

Considering the Welsh Rugby Union’s prominence in the cultural, political and sporting landscape of Wales, it is remarkable that until November 2023, no serious attempt had been made to chronicle its failings, follies and flaws. Finally, a book has arrived that examines key events from the past four decades in the Welsh game and shines a light on the WRU and how it brought Welsh rugby to the brink of…

Bleddyn 1953 comic - Stafford - Coombs - Erskine

New comic tells story of Cardiff’s famous win over the All Blacks

21st November 1953, Bleddyn Williams led his Cardiff team out in front of a crowd of 50,000 at the Arms Park to face the mighty All Blacks. Defeating the All Blacks had been an ambition for Cardiff ever since they had narrowly lost to the famous New Zealand ‘Originals’ in 1905. The Springboks had been beaten by Gwyn Nicholls’s great Cardiff team in 1907 and Australia had been defeated numerous…

New book: ‘An Illustrated History of Rugby Rebels, Role Models and Giant Killers’ by James Stafford

The third book in the ‘Illustrated History of Rugby‘ series from East Terrace editor James Stafford will be released on 7 September, 2023 and is already available for preorder. An Illustrated History of Rugby Rebels, Role Models and Giant Killers follows on from the histories of the Wales and England men’s Tests teams. Packed with 27 chapters, 90,000+ words and 28 illustrations from Raluca Moldovan, the latest volume covers figures…

Portugal v Wales: Memories of small rugby posts and conversion replays

As we approach the 2023 Rugby World Cup it seems a good time to revisit one of the more unusual matches from Wales’s World Cup history. Due to the dreadful failure of Wales to emerge from the pool stages in the 1991 World Cup (despite all games being in Cardiff), the Dragons were forced to qualify for the 1995 edition. This led to a series of qualifying games against Spain,…

An Illustrated History of English Rugby – OUT NOW

An Illustrated History of English Rugby: Fun, Facts and Stories from 150 years of Men’s International Rugby from East Terrace editor James Stafford and illustrator Raluca Moldovan is out now from Polaris Publishing. It is available as both a paperback and Kindle edition. The second book in the ‘Illustrated History of Rugby’ series, it follows on from the 2021 Wales book which sold out and was rereleased in an updated version within a year of…

Evans and the WRU

UPDATE: Ieuan Evans asked to respond to his writings on the WRU after East Terrace shines light on his autobiography

As Welsh rugby stares into an abyss of its own making, it’s worth having a quick reminder of the leadership vacuum that helped get us into this doomsday scenario. Back in December, The East Terrace flagged a young Ieuan Evans’s views on the WRU. They were opinions that in any genuine and competent leader would only have hardened over the last couple of decades. We hoped members of the (until…

We ask ChatGPT to talk about rugby, the WRU, Clive Woodward, Johnny Sexton, the advantage law and Jane Austen

Rugby is changing. Rapidly. So is the world in which it is played. In recent months the natural language tool ChatGPT has become available for public use and we on The East Terrace wanted to see how well it understood rugby union. For those that are not in the know, ChatGPT is, to quote ZDNET, “a natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that allows you to have human-like…

Warren Gatland is sad

Are Wales really slow starters in the Six Nations?

When Wales went in 27-3 down at half-time at home to Ireland in the opening game of the 2023 Six Nations, Welsh fans could be forgiven for having a sense of it simply being business as usual. Wales have built a reputation for being slow starters in the tournament. But do the actual stats confirm this? For this article, we have gone back to the start of the Six Nations…

CAMPAIGN: Adidas, please bring back your classic black-tipped rugby balls

UPDATE: Our campaign to bring back the classic Adidas black-tipped ball has reached the airwaves of New Zealand. However, for reasons we are trying to establish, our online petition has been taken down by change.org. We are trying to solve this issue and will update our readers when we find out more. Sign The East Terrace’s campaign to bring back the classic black-tipped Adidas rugby ball. Click here to add…

Wales and the NFL

VIDEO: The one-kick NFL “career” of Welsh rugby international Paul Thorburn

In the dull grey of Britain in the 1980s, the NFL was first beamed into UK homes by the then radically innovative Channel 4. With only four television stations available to Brits at the time, it meant pretty much everyone in the UK was exposed to American football to some degree. The sport was like something from another planet and the pads, helmets, brash celebrations and cheerleaders captivated and horrified…

Ieuan Evans and Ieuan Evans

Ieuan Evans (WRU Chairman) has chance to be a hero to Ieuan Evans (Star Winger)

The new chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union was, without a doubt, one of the greatest wings to have represented Wales in the 140-year-plus history of the national team. Ieuan Evans was a shining light in an era of darkness for the national team. That he burned so brightly on the playing fields of Test rugby despite being part of what was usually a sub-mediocre national team is a testament…

Jac Morgan celebrates Welsh try

Gloom in Welsh rugby totally lifted by Jac Morgan winning Mike Pyke award

The gothic grimness which fills the air around the Principality Stadium — and which is fed by the stubbornness and incompetence of the WRU Board —  will no doubt be partially lifted by news that youngster Jac Morgan (fresh from bulking up on the advice of fitness guru Wayne Pivac) has won a double Mike Pyke Nonchalant Try Scoring Award.  Morgan scored two tries, both of which were marked by no…

Release date confirmed for ‘An Illustrated History of English Rugby’ book by James Stafford

‘An Illustrated History of English Rugby: Fun, Facts and Stories from Over 150 years of International Rugby’ from East Terrace editor James Stafford and illustrator Raluca Moldovan will be published on 2nd March, 2023, by Polaris Publishing.   The book is a follow up to the bestselling ‘An Illustrated History of Welsh Rugby’, which sold out within ten months of its February 2021 released and was revised and updated for a second edition in February 2022….

Testing times — How often have Wales won a rugby Test series?

Historically, Welsh sides are the owners of a poor reputation when it comes to touring. And when you thumb through the history books it’s hard to form much of an argument against the stereotype. Most of Wales’s great rugby exploits have tended to come on European soil. So with Wales due to embark on a three-match summer series with the World Champions in their own backyard, The East Terrace wanted…

Both rugby books from the editor of The East Terrace get second editions

James Stafford, the editor of The East Terrace, released two books on rugby in 2021. Stafford’s An Illustrated History of Welsh Rugby (art by Raluca Moldovan) was released in February 2021 by Polaris Publishing to critical acclaim. After selling out in late 2021, it was revised, updated and rereleased before the 2022 Six Nations. The second book from Stafford, ‘How Wales Beat the Mighty All Blacks‘ (from Y Lolfa) is…

UPDATED: WRU management speak: A written history of the ‘learnings’ of Westgate Street

The Welsh Rugby Union has a long and proud history of management speak. When the game in Wales needs leadership, clarity and action, we usually get waves of wondrous Westgate Street waffle. From Roger Lewis to Steve Phillips, the WRU has a conveyor belt of great management mumblers to rival the great outside-half factory of yesteryear. Yet, the WRU is never called out on this by the press in Wales….

The East Terrace 2022 Six Nations Awards

Welcome to the only Six Nations Awards that matter: The East Terrace Six Nations Awards. Unlike the official tournament organisers, we would never bother asking the common people who watch the thing to vote on who wins what (what do they know?).   Interviewee of the tournament RUNNER UP: Wayne Pivac (Wales) “I don’t know that it struggled.” Wales’s Wayne Pivac responds to a question about the struggles of the Welsh…

Dear rugby broadcasters, please, just show us the line-outs

We’ve written before on The East Terrace about the poor choices broadcasters often make during live rugby coverage. A desire for ‘innovative’ and ‘engaging’ angles, or ‘drama’ in the coaching box,  continually infuriates people who just want to watch the live action from a decent perspective. The recent Wales v France game was a classic modern Cardiff broadcast with style taking precedence over substance (and the style not even being…

Welsh coaches v Italy in the Six Nations (2000-2021)

Concluding our look at the history of Welsh coaches in the Five and Six Nations, this week we look at Wales’s results against Italy in the Championship. With Italy only joining the tournament for its expansion in 2000, this week’s article is a far more simple affair. A quick reminder before we start, this series only looks at Six Nations games and does not consider any games with Italy outside…

123