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Book on 1905 rugby match between Wales & All Blacks

A BARRY man’s book re-tells the controversial tale of Wales’ victory in their first ever rugby match against New Zealand.

Less than two weeks after the publication of James Stafford’s How Wales Beat the Mighty All Blacks, a fully illustrated picture book for children, a reprint has had to be ordered by publishers Y Lolfa to meet demand.

Released on October 22, it charted as the No.2 bestselling children’s book in Wales for the entire month; by the second week of November there were no copies left, so it has been rushed back into print.

How Wales Beat the Mighty All Blacks tells the story of the very first match between Wales and New Zealand in 1905.

On their inaugural international tour, the All Blacks swept everyone bar Wales aside, winning 34 out of 35 games and scoring 976 points to just 59 against.

Barry And District News:

The famous 3-0 win by Wales is still a course of controversy, with fans still debating whether the New Zealanders’ equalising try should have been disallowed.

James Stafford, who is not a stranger to writing about Welsh rugby, said: “The response has been off the scale.

“As well as having a very warm reception in the rugby community, I’ve had parents getting in touch, telling me how much their children have enjoyed learning about this famous piece of Welsh sporting history.

“One proud father even told me his five-year-old son is begging to be taken to see the famous Gwyn Nicholls Gates at Cardiff Arms Park, which feature in the book.

Barry And District News:

“I’ve had contact from as far afield as New Zealand and an absolutely delightful message from a Kiwi who now owns the whistle used in the actual game from 1905!

“We aren’t always the best in Wales at celebrating our history and I think the success of the book shows there really is a market for stories about our proud sporting past aimed at young readers.”

The artwork – created by Mr Stafford’s niece Carys Feehan – has also been praised, with the images packed with historical detail, such as the kits worn and the flag used by Wales at the time.

Carolyn Hodges, from publishers Y Lolfa, said: “It’s a beautiful book and a really engaging story about a subject that’s close to Welsh hearts.

“I’m not surprised that it’s selling like hot cakes.”

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