The true story of this picture... the toilet incident nobody knows about and the extraordinary thing that happened next
the ruck, and a number of Bridgend supporters vented their disgust at what had happened. The home players were none too impressed, as well.
“I had a good view of the incident and it was a proper stamp,” said Thomas.
“He also seemed to have a second go.
“There were other people stamped on during the game as well.
“But our forwards gave a big account of themselves and stood their ground against a strong New Zealand pack.
“I remember John Billot’s report in the Western Mail the next day. He was unimpressed with the way the All Blacks had conducted themselves, while a Kiwi journalist whose report I heard about put blame on Bridgend.
“But there was no ex- cuse for what happened to John.
“It was an awful incident.”
He’s not back on is he?: Having been stitched up, JPR unbelievably returned to the field of play.
It double underlined the mindset of player who set new standards for courage on a rugby field.
He was later asked, a shade bluntly, if he had a screw loose by returning to the fray that day against New Zealand, to which he replied: “Things were different in those days.
“I was the captain and felt I had a responsibility to my team. You wouldn’t be allowed back onto the pitch in that condition now.” The Unseen Dustup The match ended with New Zealand grinding out a 17-6 win which didn’t do justice to the fight Bridgend had put up.
There was more than a touch of ill feeling after a game that had been punctuated by sledging.
Things boiled over in the toilet area of the dressing rooms when a Bridgend forward queried aloud whether former All Blacks prop Kent Lambert spelled his first name with a C.
“There were a few shenanigans after the match,” said Thomas.
“One of our boys made a remark which didn’t exactly go down well and when an objection came in, he told the bloke in question to go forth and multiply or something close to that.
“There was never a question of anyone back- ing down because we were up against the All Blacks.”
The Dinner Still more afters was to be served up at the extraordinary post-match dinner.
Making a speech, JPR’s father wasn’t afraid to draw attention to the incident that had seen his son so badly injured.
It prompted a mass walk-out of All Blacks.
But after watching footage of the incident, the full-back himself was sure there was a case to answer.
“When I saw the replay there was no doubt it was deliberate,” he said.
The episode, from the stamp to the injury and the speech, made worldwide headlines.
What happened next: There was nothing resembling an apology from Ashworth until a couple living close to Williams returned home with a bottle of wine.
They had been on a cricket tour to New Zealand, where Ashworth was by then the owner of a vineyard.
He gave Williams’s friend a bottle to pass on to his old adversary.
“I should be grateful but I won’t be sending him a Christmas card,” said Williams.
This week, the great No 15 was still waiting for someone to utter the word ‘sorry’.
“I have never had an apology,” he told our website WalesOnline.
“New Zealand even named him as a substitute for the game with the Barbarians the following Saturday, a case of rubbing salt in the wound if ever there was one.
“The match ended with the crowd booing.
“The wine? A bottle of white wine was delivered to my house years later.
“It didn’t taste that good.”
The whole episode still leaves a bad taste, then? “It’s been a long time now, but one of the problems about New Zealand is that they tend not to apologise when they are wrong,” he added.
Williams is remembered as the bravest of brave rugby players.
“What was brilliant about John is that he played for Bridgend as he played for Wales and the Lions,” said Thomas.
“He only knew one way to play, with total commitment and total courage, and he deserves every accolade that has come his way over the years.”
Ashworth? Only this year he was voted top of an All Blacks’ list of onpitch bad boys by New Zealand Herald writer Chris Rattue.
Time doesn’t heal all wounds.
A blood-soaked JPR Williams leaves the field for treatment after being stamped on while playing for Bridgend against New Zealand in 1978