Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
3 December 2016
All of the team lists, playing and scoring records of the 14 tests played by the 2016 All Blacks are summarised here; All your questions answered (in three parts). Read more »
Anti-tour protests and police surrounding the ground in Christchurch made this a tough watch for the fans. But NZ beat South Africa on this day in the first test by 14-9.
Wellington, New Zealand
15 internationals for N. Zealand 1972–77
The Scottish TV commentator Bill McLaren best described this busy and talented All Black. He said that Batty went at his game like a ‘little buzz-saw’, and indeed he did.
Grant Batty was a rarity in All Black rugby of the early 1970s. He was a back (a wing mostly) who had genuine speed, aggression and inventiveness. Although small in stature, he was never one to step back from a physical confrontation, no matter how imposing his opponent might have been. Not everyone in New Zealand could cope with a player of his brilliance and physical approach, and although New Zealanders were more than grateful on several occasions for his feisty presence on the field, he was always regarded as controversial.
Batty was received in a similar light wherever he played in the rugby world. Cardiff crowds booed him when he played there with the All Blacks in 1972–73. He replied by playing brilliantly. South African crowds treated him the same way. Batty responded by showing immense courage and playing on even after sustaining a near-crippling knee injury. Such was his value to the All Blacks that they insisted on playing him in the tests even though he had to run about with a metal cast hidden under his knee bandages.
Sadly, Batty’s knee problems became so bad he was forced out of rugby at the age of 25.
Controversial he might have been, but the crowds in New Zealand and elsewhere always flocked in to watch Batty.
He later shifted to Australia and by the 1990s had begun a long-term association on the coaching staff of the Queensland Reds team and other club sides.
Why was the France v Ireland match of 1913 played in the morning in Cork?