As tributes are paid to legendary Wales captain Brian Price, who has died aged 86, the story is emerging of how King Charles was reportedly shocked by an incident involving the Welshman that rocked rugby and much more.

It was a long time ago, 1969 to be precise, when legendary Wales captain Brian Price, the Alan Wyn Jones of his day, scored the most famous goal in Five Nations history, beating Ireland’s Noel Murphy.

He was great in front of Charles, who looked younger than his years, sitting in the stands at Cardiff Arms Park.

Just months away from becoming Prince of Wales, the 20-year-old could be forgiven for wincing.

He once recalled being introduced to rugby at Gordonstone School, where, he said, the forwards placed him in the second row so that “systematic attacks on me during a scrum would go unnoticed”.

Now there was more evidence of a difficult oval-ball game. In front of the King’s box at the start of the match, Price, playing on the second line, threw a right hook that beat winger Murphy.

It was later said of the Irishman: “He turned towards the stands, with his head high and with dignity, as befitted a prince of Irish players, as if he begged the sympathy of the young Prince of Wales, who was sitting on the royal throne . . enclosure and then fell to the ground. like a felled oak! How the crowd roared!

Surprisingly, the referee decided not to send Price off, prompting BBC presenter and commentator David Coleman to ask: “What do you have to do to get kicked out of rugby?”

Brian Price (right) with Delmy Thomas (left) and Gareth Edwards (center) in 1969

The Times exploded: “It was a terrible act of vandalism,” and added, more than whimsically, “it was the depth of the lack of education.”

For Murphy, it must have been more than just a case of rudeness.

Years later, Price, one of Welsh rugby’s all-time greats and not a man known for punches or other acts of violence on the field, admitted there was a pre-match plan to attack Murphy, a master of the ball.

“There was a plan by Murphy; Let’s admit that from the start,” he said. “It was very simple. Gareth Edwards picked up the ball in a scrum and went around the side where Noel was holding it. So we all trampled Noel a bit.

But it ended with a jab at the Welshman’s intended spotlight in front of the prince. “I got the ball back after the equalizer and put some fingers around my eyes,” Price said. “I turned and ran. The referee (the late Doug McMahon of Scotland) looked at me and I thought, ‘I’m leaving.’ “I will go before the prince.” Fortunately, the referee realized it was retaliation, warned me and awarded Ireland a penalty.”

The new king was never questioned about the controversy that marked his first visit to the Parque de Armas. But many others still remember the game that led the South Wales Echo to call the match report “a real blow”.

Wales won 24-11, denying Ireland the Triple Crown. Referee McMahon never refereed another international match.


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