Born 10 June 1933, Swansea, Wales
308th player to be capped by the Royal Navy Rugby Union
Played against the Army in 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959
Played against the Royal AIr Force in 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959
Inter Service Record
Played 10 Won 5 Drew 0 Lost 5
Inter Service Titles 0
1955 Royal Navy 8 Army 3
1955 Royal Navy 3 Royal Air Force 6
1956 Royal Navy 3 Army 6
1956 Royal Navy 11 Royal Air Force 9
1957 Royal Navy 3 Army 6
1957 Royal Navy 8 Royal Air Force 6
1958 Royal Navy 14 Army 0
1958 Royal Navy 3 Royal Air Force 14
1959 Royal Navy 6 Army 0
1959 Royal Navy 3 Royal Air Force 12
Lieutenant Haydn James Mainwaring Royal Marines is best remembered for a single tackle he made whilst playing as the uncapped player, traditionally picked by the Barbarians FC when they took on the touring Springboks. The tackle has gone down in Barbarian and Welsh rugby folklore and was described by the Sunday Times as “like a comet burying itself into earth”. The unlucky recipient was Avril Malan. That day Haydn was playing fullback but his solitary cap fro Wales was at Centre with Wales losing 8 – 6 to France at Colombes.
Now back to that tackle. Details of the tackle are regularly regaled whenever the South Africans tour. However one of the best I have found is sadly unattributed and if anyone has a reference I would gladly receive it.
“South Africa were unbeaten on tour, having defeated all four home nations, and the last match was against the Barbarians in Cardiff. They were very unpopular tourists and it was rumoured that the Baa-Baas side was picked to beat the Springboks regardless of style – against the normal Barbarian ethos.
They followed tradition by picking an uncapped player – Haydn Mainwaring of Swansea and the Royal Navy – at fullback.
I was standing on a terrace only a dozen yards back from the pitch when the Springbok captain, a world-class second-row named Avril Malan, went tanking down the touchline on his way to scoring a try. His head was back, gulping in the air, legs pumping.
The only Baa-Baas player anywhere near was Mainwaring who started trotting across from midfield. They were on a collision course directly in front of me and a hard shove from the side would have put Malan in touch.
Suddenly, when Mainwaring was a few yards from Malan he charged with tremendous force, hitting the South Africa captain under the heart with the point of his shoulder. Malan didn’t seem to have a clue he was coming. You could hear his ribs crack. I think it would be illegal these days, so some might argue it wasn’t a memorable tackle as such. But it was definitely a memorable moment.
Poor Avril Malan was poleaxed, unconscious over the touchline. Mainwaring glanced down at him and trotted back into midfield. The first Springbok on the scene had to be restrained by other team members from getting in amongst us, the crowd, who were jumping up and down with joy. I don’t suppose any of us spoke Afrikaans but we got the gist of what he was shouting!
Apparently, Malan went to the end-of-tour dinner that evening but had to leave because he felt so ill. The Barbarians won the game 6-0. When the Lions went to South Africa in 1962, the Springboks, captained by Avril Malan, took revenge by crushing them in 3 tests and drawing 1. ”
To try and put the try in to some sort of context I am sure many who follow the Barbarians will have seen the famous Gareth Edwards try against New Zealand in 1973 with the equally famous commentary by Cliff Morgan. In 2007 the Telegraph rated it the greatest try of all time and the greatest moment in Baa-Baa’s history. Haydn’s tackle was number two on the all time list of great moments.
Haydn went on to serve on the Barbarians FC committee and was replaced in 2008 by the former Irish prop forward Phil Orr.
Little is known of Haydn’s service exploits. Though he played ten Inter Service matches with a 5-5 win loss record he never won an Inter Service title outright, although he was part of the 1956 Triple Tie.
Finally Hadyn Mainwaring attended Bishop Gore school which has over the time produced a number of Welsh Internationals, including current lock forward Alun Wyn Jones. The schools most famous former pupil is probably Dylan Thomas.