Two flying Welshmen carved their names into the British & Irish Lions annals at Eden Park on 29 July 1950.
Both Joneses, Lewis – a replacement who became the first Lion to fly to Tour – and Ken an Olympic medallist whose searing pace finished one of the most memorable tries in Lions history.
Great Irish fly-half Jack Kyle calls the final Test a ‘regret’ and though Bleddyn Williams came within a Noel Henderson cover-tackle of potentially sealing a famous win in Auckland, Jones’ try has earned that Test a special place in the history of both New Zealand and Lions rugby.
The Lions found themselves on their own try line and trailing 11-3 when Lewis Jones – then a 19-year-old Welsh prodigy – unexpectedly seized on a Kyle pass intended for Williams.
“Jack was preparing to pass to me when Lewis Jones sliced between us and took the pass intended for me. We were as flabbergasted as the All Blacks,” Williams recalled in Behind the Lions.
Ken Jones had won a relay silver at the 1948 London Olympics and refused a place in the Welsh athletics team for the 1950 Empire Games to tour with the Lions, which, combined with his namesake Lewis’ youthful exuberance ensured the Lions did not capitulate from 11-3 down in the final Test.
After taking Kyle’s pass at full pace, full-back Lewis Jones fed Blaenavon-born winger Ken Jones, who left the great Bob Scott trailing with a deft side-step, effortlessly accelerated and ran 75 metres for an unforgettable score.
“Ken got the ball and went charging, chased by the wing three-quarter, but Ken having won a silver medal in the Olympics was not going to be caught. I can still see it and feel it and I remember thinking, “We have a chance here,”’ Kyle recalled.
That chance never became the Test win on Kiwi soil that the 1950 Lions deserved. Galvanized by Jones’ score, the Lions hammered away the All Blacks line for a thrilling final 20 minutes, but the New Zealanders’ defence remained resolute.
Ken Jones – who finished with 16 tries in 17 Tour games – and Kyle were rewarded with a place in New Zealand Rugby Almanac's five 'Players of the Year' – an accolade which none of the 58,000 inside Eden Park that day would ever dare to dispute.
In fact, so stunning was Jones' effort that one man in the ground that day, the legendary New Zealand journalist Terry McLean, described it as "the greatest try of all".
29 JULY 1950
NEW ZEALAND (8) 11, BRITISH & IRISH LIONS (3) 8 (Eden Park)
New Zealand: Bob Scott(C/D); Bill Meates, Roy Roper, John Tanner, Sammy Henderson(T); Laurie Haig, Vince Bevan; Hector Wilson(T), Arthur Hughes, Kevin Skinner; Tiny White, Lester Harvey; Pat Crowley, Peter Johnstone (capt), Graham Mexted.
British & Irish Lions: Lewis Jones(C/P); Ken Jones(T), Jack Matthews, Bleddyn Williams (capt), Mick Lane; Jackie Kyle, Rex Willis; Grahame Budge, Dai Davies, Cliff Davies; Jimmy Nelson, Roy John; Bob Evans, Bill McKay, Peter Kininmonth.
Scoring sequence: Wilson H.W. (T) 3-0, Scott R.W.H. (C) 5-0, Jones B.L. (P) 5-3, Scott R.W.H. (D) 8-3, 67' Henderson P. (T) 11-3, Jones K.J. (T) 11-6, Jones B.L. (C) 11-8.
Referee: George Sullivan (New Zealand).