With less than three weeks until the 2017 Rugby League World Cup kicks off, Monday Memories recalls perhaps the most famous ‘no-try’ in the tournament’s history – Australian legend Graeme Langlands’ athletic effort that was wrongly denied in the 1972 final against Great Britain.
A dismal crowd of 4,321 turned out at Lyon’s Stade Municipal de Garland for the final, which was overshadowed by a costly refereeing blunder. Australian front-row enforcer John O’Neill scored the opening try from a superb solo burst, before Langlands had a spectacular touchdown disallowed by referee Georges Jameau.
The skipper raced after a high kick by halfback Denis Ward and caught it at full stretch in the in-goal, but Jameau incorrectly ruled ‘Changa’ Langlands offside (Langlands claims Jameau later apologised to him after viewing a television replay).
British captain and wing speedster Clive Sullivan scored a memorable 90-metre try to level the scores 5-all before halftime. Ward made a break to send Arthur Beetson over for try in the second half, but Great Britain hooker Mike Stephenson’s converted try consigned the final to extra-time.
No change was made to the 10-all scoreline in the additional 20 minutes and Great Britain was handed the World Cup due to its superior record in the preliminary matches.
While a try that would surely have ranked among the greatest in international rugby league history wasn’t to be, future Immortal Langlands’ leap nevertheless holds a prominent place in World Cup folklore.