REMEMBER THIS? SPORT'S MAGIC MOMENTS OF 1994 : Davies' try a vision of what might have been From the try that gave Great Britain hope to the goal that even Pele would have been proud of

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The Independent Online
RUGBY LEAGUE : There is little competition for the status of most thrilling moment of 1994. It came three minutes before half-time in the first Test at Wembley, when Jonathan Davies realised that there was nothing between the gap he had found in the Australian defence and the try-line.

It was the try that won that Test against all expectations and briefly bred dreams of winning the Ashes for the first time since 1970. Those dreams turned out to be just that, but that only makes the image of Davies, head thrown back, haring for the corner, all the more vivid.

The build-up was all it should have been, as well. Bobby Goulding was only on the field because of the dismissal of Shaun Edwards for a high tackle, but it was the quality of his break from the scrum-base that made everything else possible.

Wrong-footing Laurie Daley for just about the only time in the series, Goulding got Offiah moving down the left. With his path blocked, Offiah found Alan Hunte supporting on the inside and he, too, made good progress before being hauled down.

Hunte's other crucial contribution hardly comes out of the pages of the coaching manual but by engaging in a little scuffle with Brett Mullins he distracted the Australian full-back, one of the players to emerge on their tour, from getting back to where he should have been.

Fluent handling by Phil Clarke and Denis Betts - both soon to be lost to the British domestic, if not international scene - got the ball moving rapidly towards Davies on the right.

The miserly Australian wide defence was not quite in its correct alignment and when Davies hinted sufficiently at a dummy to put Steve Renouf in two minds he was able to find the space to get between him and Brad Fittler.

Pan back to Mullins, recently disentangled from Hunte and all too aware that he was not in position to cover the break. Few people have seen a full-back faster than Mullins and he came within a yard of being able to force Davies out at the corner-flag.

But Davies, spotting his approach out of the corner of his eye, dived low and early to minimise the impact and squeezed in for the score. It was one of the finest Test-match tries, made all the more memorable by its vast if temporary significance.

Great Britain's 12 men hung on to win 8-4 and give the code a Sunday morning to look forward to, where praise for their outstanding display vied with the condemnation of Edwards.

At the time, we did not know how serious Davies's shoulder injury was, but it turned out that an innocuous accident with a team-mate would put him out of the rest of the series.

We are in the realm of might-have-beens here, but that try at Wembley will always suggest to me that, if Davies had been fit for the second and third Tests, he might just have produced something comparable to confuse and defeat the Australians again.

In the real world, we will have to be content with one glorious moment at Wembley and that Davies, praise be, is not joining the drift to the southern hemisphere.

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