Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
28 November 2014
It is always very sad when a man who once thrilled New Zealand with his youthful rugby zeal and became an All Black, then reaches his senior years - and then passes away. This week we say RIP to Peter 'Sammy' Henderson. Read more »
22 July 2014
I felt really sad when I heard of the death of Kevin Skinner. He was such a genial man in his later years until his health started to fade. At the Barbarians Club at Eden Park in Auckland he was always a friendly face, chatting away. And invariably gently chiding anyone who tried to push onto him the reputation many New Zealand rugby followers had that he was forever and only a rugby thug. He was not that at all. I prefer to call him a vital man who was very much needed by his country in some most critical rugby years. Read more »
Graham Mourie's touring team was beaten 12-0 by Munster in Limerick; the first win by any Irish team over the All Blacks. And poems, songs, books, films and reunions followed over the years.
South-West Africa and South Africa
38 internationals for Sth Africa 1965–76
Along with the tight-loose forward Frik du Preez, flanker Jan Ellis shared for many years the record for most test matches played by a South African. They played in an age when such a total was considered huge.
Ellis came from far-flung South-West Africa (now independent Namibia) where the nearest rugby club was 60 miles (100 km) away. His keenness and determination to play the game soon built into a talent that was recognised in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, the main centres of South African rugby.
Ellis made the first of his 38 test appearances for the Springboks in New Zealand in 1965. He played modestly for the first six or seven games, but then he discovered his own strength and speed and by tour’s end he was one of the most improved players in the team. Thereafter his powerful running from loose play and strong tackling made him a regular in Springbok sides.
He played many of his tests in the politically-charged atmosphere of anti-apartheid protests, but if such demonstrations worried Ellis it was never seen. His play was always of a consistently high standard.
In 1976 Ellis equalled Frik du Preez’s total of 38 internationals, but was denied the chance to beat the record when he was dropped from the Springboks team after the first test against the All Blacks.
When did an international rugby team play a full game and then travel to another country to play a second full game on the same day?