Offered in a dedicated sale of the Welsh scrum half’s jerseys at Rogers Jones in Cardiff on February 24, Edwards’ shirt from the Barbarians vs New Zealand match of 1973 was estimated at £150,000-200,000.
With some strong commission and internet bids taking it above the low estimate, the lot came down to a contest between two interested parties on the phone. The auction house described the buyer as a private UK collector.
The price surpassed the previous record for any rugby jersey: the £180,000 for the New Zealand shirt worn by captain Dave Gallaher on their 1905-06 British tour which also sold at Rogers Jones back in 2015.
Last month was the 50th anniversary of the famous match at Cardiff Arms Park which was the final game of New Zealand’s 1972/73 tour of the British Isles. It was regarded by the All Blacks as a chance to take revenge after their test series loss against the British Lions in 1971.
Edwards, the Barbarians’ scrum half, scored his famous try in only the 2nd minute of the game – diving over the line in the left-hand corner at the Taff End after a phenomenal team move which started deep in the Barbarians’ own half.
The Rogers Jones catalogue stated: ‘It would be a try forever etched in rugby folklore and that epitomized all that was good about rugby and teamwork.’
In the end, the Barbarians triumphed 23-11 with six tries scored in total – four for the Barbarians and two for the All Blacks. Former England international, rugby journalist and commentator Nigel Starmer-Smith said: “The match set such a high standard of excellence that it will forever be a yardstick by which games of rugby football union will be judged.”
All 39 lots at the Rogers Jones sold, raising a combined £351,000.