Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Paul Thorburns legendary penalty kick from 1986

Paul Thorburns legendary penalty kick from 1986

Last weekend in the Six Nations Wales were awarded a Penalty close to the half way line. The commentators jokingly said 'Bring back Paul Thorburn'.

For those of you who heard that comment and didn't really understand what it meant, I've managed to track down this excellent quality video of a moment of legend, thanks to a Rugbydump fan who sent me the link.

In the 1986 Five Nations game between Wales and Scotland at Cardiff Arms park, Welsh fullback Paul Thorburn put over one of the biggest kicks you will ever see, at just over 60 meters.

The commentary of the legendary Bill McLaren makes it even more special, combined with the fact that he kicked it from a divot he created in the grass - there were no proper tees back then.

An amazing feat that will go down in Welsh rugby folklore for being probably the biggest kick to ever be seen on the international rugby stage.

And to rub salt into the wound, he followed it up with an easy 49m penalty a few minutes later.

Posted at 8:02 am | 63 comments

Viewing 63 comments

Anonymous February 13, 2008 8:11 am

Hold on, there is also a kick in the RWC'95 of a Mr Gavin Hastings which also came from behind the 50 meter line... but awesome kick..

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Anonymous February 13, 2008 8:43 am

that is loose beyond belief that ball is in the air for a full 4 seconds

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Fridge February 13, 2008 8:55 am

Sensational kick.Gavin Henson, eat your heart out!

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Blarney 92 February 13, 2008 9:05 am

Thats absolutely ridiculous!!!!

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Reagan February 13, 2008 9:07 am

That is the most amazing penalty kick i have seen.

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David February 13, 2008 9:13 am

Those were some good days for us, my god could Paul thump it.

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Bart February 13, 2008 9:18 am

Beautiful reminder of days when the game was played based on talent on not on hours spend in the gym or with kicking gurus.

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Anonymous February 13, 2008 9:35 am

Bliksem!!Naas Botha, eat your heart out!Martin

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Anonymous February 13, 2008 10:05 am

flippin heck thats huge im only 14 so unfortunately didn't see this kick LOL but that was huge. Is it the biggest ever recorded goal kick ?well its gotta be one of them

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RS February 13, 2008 10:06 am

Beautifull kick. And what a stadium, that old Cardiff Arms Park.

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iceman February 13, 2008 10:13 am

got to say i hated the old arms park - great atmosphere but what a dump!superb penalty kick though, never seen anything like that!

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Anonymous February 13, 2008 10:16 am

Great kickAnyone else nostalgic for Mclarens commentary. Just class, cant stand Robertson all he does is bellow rubbish. Moore is so biased, like Jiffy but I would say that. Butler fluctuates to much.

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Anonymous February 13, 2008 11:44 am

Incroyable!

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Anonymous February 13, 2008 12:23 pm

what a kick!!!amazingmaybe francois steyn could give this a try? I've seen him kicking a few big ones too, but not as big as this...

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Gary February 13, 2008 1:02 pm

This is officially the longest penalty in rugby history although there is debate over the official distance. Jiffy says its 68 yards and people who have worked out the distance from footage reckon its 70/72 yards basically its around 60+ meters which is quite phenomenal. i love this clip because i have had numerous arguments with americans who claim kicking a 'field goal' is harder, often citing the fact that they don't use tees. however as anyone who has tried will know kicking from a divot is much harder than having the ball held for you which is in turn slightly harder than a tee. also the longest american football goal is 10 meters shorter and even that would be a very rare event because that would be a kick from well inside your own half as a football field is only 100 yards. i have this on dvd but could never find a clip to back up my claims. great to know its floating around there somewhere.

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Rugbier Brazil February 13, 2008 1:29 pm

That's amazing!In the 2006 Tri Nations, Daniel Carter converted a 62 meters penalty kick.Any chance of getting the video?

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owen February 13, 2008 2:07 pm

amazing considering the advances in ball technology over the last 20 years, makes you think what that could have been like with a lighter, more true, modern ball. astonoshing really.

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Cheyanqu February 13, 2008 2:17 pm

Gary,Agreed that kicking from a divot is definitely harder.However, in American football you have a ball with a MUCH smaller "sweet spot" (or striking zone), which makes any variance from perfect an issue.And (if kicking for points) in American football, you face the timing of the snap, the holder spinning the ball in place, before the kick happens.In addition, you have an oncoming defense, which prevents one from making a driven kick (think of having to use a 9 iron rather than a 3 wood to clear a hill) instead having to lift the ball early to avoid a block.

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Cheyanqu February 13, 2008 2:21 pm

Impressive kick.On a law point, does anyone recall if back then a teammate could hold the ball in place for you?Thanks for the McLaren! May I suggest that you cross-list the clips with McLaren commentary with one of those "tags"?If there is a "voice" to rugby, he's the guy!

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Sea-Bass February 13, 2008 3:36 pm

...*closes his mouth*Astonishing!

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Anonymous February 13, 2008 4:00 pm

paul "the boot" thorbon played for the local team i support (Neath) and is now the sales director for the ospreyshard to belive that hes a sales director lolalways great to see clips from the old daysand i think what made that kick more specail is cause i think thats the kick he converted to beat scotland

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elrolo February 13, 2008 4:33 pm

wow. And weren't the balls heavier too?

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David February 13, 2008 6:31 pm

the balls were heavier, absorbed water as the match went on, and could even get dented from what i've heard lol. scary to think what paul could of done with a modern ball..the guy who developed the modern one (forgotten his name) believes that barry john was the best kicker ever :D based on his record with such a comparatively tougher ball.

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AbbyNo7 February 13, 2008 7:17 pm

Gavin Hastings put over a kick of similar length against the Welsh a couple of years later also at Cardiff i think. Might not be as long as Thorburn's but was very close.

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thegoods14 February 13, 2008 7:57 pm

I don't know if anyone else noticed but it looks like a Scottish player got hit with the ball right after it goes through the posts.

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Matthew February 13, 2008 8:10 pm

Big up the Gaffney. I put this up on youtube (username FatBlazeStumpy). I am glad that it made it on RugbyDump!Do I get a free t-shirt?

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Anonymous February 14, 2008 12:11 am

Unbelievable kick...will have to through in the name of one of Queensland/Australia's prolific kickers who was also capable of kicks like this...Roger Gould. Saw him slot over a drop goal from a similar distance at Ballymore during the 80's.Rohan

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G-unit February 14, 2008 12:47 am

Bloody Legend! Yes, even considering the balls we're HEAVIER, more odd shaped, barely got off the ground, and lack the 20years of technology that the pros these days have...and not in SA at altitude...just beautiful to watch! By the way, if we going to debate american football vs rugby ball...I'm actually in favour of rugby balls being designed to be easier to pass and catch, rather than kick! Some balls I've played with are absolute pigs, when wet, or even dry... down with designing balls for Dan Carter and Johnny Wilkinson, design them for the ball runners! just a thought!

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italian scrummy February 14, 2008 1:33 pm

Absolutely amazing...the best kick I'd say...ever....even if Steyn tried it he'd have a lighter,better ball...Absolutely love the way the ball creeps into the side of the post...almost didn't make it....now THAT is making history.....this is for the american football / rugby debate...ok so in field goals you've got a defense coming after you...I'd say field goals are more like our dropgoals...only dropgoals ARE technically more difficult than field goals.....

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geraint February 14, 2008 3:33 pm

Brilliant

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goodNumber10 February 14, 2008 5:46 pm

Love the way he takes no preperation or anything and just walks back and then take s proper run up to the ball.None of this focuses and relax m'larky, just hoofs it as hard as he can and crosses his fingers.he's scored some ptretty memorable goals for neath as well.

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goodNumber10 February 14, 2008 5:49 pm

Imagine what he'd have done at altitude?

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Ryan February 14, 2008 5:57 pm

I love the way he kicks the ball, 62 metres, through the posts, and then whacks the scottish player right in the balls...Classic

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Anonymous February 15, 2008 12:14 am

chris patterson is known for kicking goals from his own 22 every week in training ... and he is the fastest man in world rugby to boot. taffies eatyer hearts oot!

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Anonymous February 15, 2008 9:51 pm

it's a big kick now but back then they kicked out of the ground not off tee's and the balls weren't as light as they are now either

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CB February 17, 2008 6:07 pm

Francois Steyn kicked one from 59m fairly easily the other day against the force

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David March 15, 2008 9:53 pm

Alot of people don't seem to grasp just how much more difficult the kicking game was back then. kicked out of the ground with a ball that was not only heavier, but could easily become dented and actually absorbed water.don't much care what Steyn can kick. you cant compare it this absolute belter. longest penalty in rugby history, and in those conditions with the record still standing is a feat in itself.

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RobHewlett March 16, 2008 11:18 pm

The NFL record is 63 yards by Jason Elam (Denver Broncos) FYI. Difficulty-wise, in the NFL you don't have wide kicking angles. But you do have a limited number of steps you can take since the opposing team challenge place kicks.It's a really astounding kick, just beautiful. And especially considering the aforementioned conditions/ball type etc.

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Trevor March 22, 2008 10:21 am

The shirt and boot used for this used to be in the Bar of the Swansea University sports centre, reminded us all the time of this kick in the late '80s when I was there. If it's still there check it out if you get the chance. GREAT

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Anonymous March 25, 2008 8:47 am

What a kick! I was at the game between Leicester and Llanelli when Tim Stimpson hit one from his own half. It hit the post and crossbar before going over

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Anonymous April 10, 2008 7:55 pm

whos the idiot talking about patterson kicking from his own 22patterson is known for being the most accurate kicker in world rugby, but he never takes kicks 45 meters+. During the world cup he always let parks take any kick inn the 10 meter areaAlso patterson isnt evn in the top 10 fastest players in europe let alone fastest rugby player in the world

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Paxton May 13, 2008 3:15 pm

Welsh Fullback Paul Thorburn kicks the longest kick ever.Gavin Henson eat your heart out!.There were a couple of flunkies back in the 80s in the Wales squad but in 1986 Wales stamped on Scotland's toes with Adrian Hadley's try,Jonathan Davies chipped in with a droppie and Paul Thorburn kicked five penalties.Amazing game.

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David May 15, 2008 2:32 pm

apparantly this kick was closer to 70meters? don't know,but i it must be the longest one ever.

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Anonymous July 17, 2008 7:00 pm

makes us welsh very proud :D

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Anonymous November 06, 2008 11:19 pm

he's the world record holder for longest kick:|and i played him in squash earlier:L!lol kicked my ass

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Anonymous February 23, 2009 11:49 am

How about Gavin Hastings in 1995 WC? I believe he also punted it in from behind the halfway line...

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Anonymous February 24, 2009 6:08 pm

thats close to 70m because of the angle it's on , at least 65m

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Anonymous June 30, 2009 1:13 am

If u use pythogras theory then its between 63-64m at best, though it probably isn't becasue the pitches were measured in yards but its certainly 60m+ Which begs the question why are people talking about gavin hastings kick which was behind the halfway line but not the far 10m line making it less than 60m. Dan carter, Riaan Volian (spelling?) and Andrew Merthens are the only kickers ive seen get one from over 60m but none of those kicks compare to this beast!
What a kick!

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Anonymous September 19, 2009 1:58 pm

Dont think he needed to retreat far back after taking that one....

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Anonymous February 24, 2010 9:15 pm

Yes this is a record kick.
It measures 64.2m
And roughly 70m when it hits ground....try kicking a rugby ball 70m without a tee. huge.

Source: Wikipedia

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RunningRugby4 April 12, 2012 6:32 pm

Ah whatever happened to small backs? what makes this kick so awsomn is that these blokes are midgets compared to today's rugger buggers. It would'nt be half as awsomn if a player like steyn, halfpenny or johnny did

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RunningRugby4 April 12, 2012 6:32 pm

Ah whatever happened to small backs? what makes this kick so awsomn is that these blokes are midgets compared to today's rugger buggers. It would'nt be half as awsomn if a player like steyn, halfpenny or johnny did that

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AJ Jenkins April 15, 2012 10:00 pm

its funny cos hes so skinny but kicks it so far

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Anonymous April 18, 2012 12:40 pm

he didn't take it from where the ball actually landed...

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hookertomo February 24, 2013 4:58 pm

In 1944, Ernie Cooper landed an 81-yard penalty for Bridlington School's first XV against an Army XV, the longest successful authenticated penalty ever.
England always has had better booters then Wales.

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Jamo April 13, 2013 9:55 pm

What a kick.I was at this game but couldn't see a bloody thing as I was 7 and in the old east stand at the other end!!What a game that was ,when rugby was a proper game

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Matthew Wilkins the October 03, 2013 8:13 am

Dally Messenger, the Union convert to League kicked a penalty from 75 yards (68-69m) back around 1909-10. He also kicked a penalty, that the early Guinness Book of Records called a record, from 80+ yards (73m). Unfortunately, the GWR books don't record it anymore. But it's officially the record. Back in 1910. Thorburn's kick is a beast....and it knackered the Scottish dude xD

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brid kid January 27, 2014 1:08 pm

actually the longest kick was In 1944, Ernie Cooper landed an 81-yard penalty for Bridlington School's first XV against an Army XV, the longest successful authenticated penalty ever.

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brid kid January 27, 2014 1:09 pm

that's 74m by the way. Ernie is still alive and is the President of Bridlington RFC, my old club :)

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Eif March 04, 2014 10:59 pm

This was the first match I ever went to in Cardiff. I have since been to many many more but that kick is the most memorable thing I ever witnessed there.

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