Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
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From my travels I have collected many photos; had them sent to me or saved them, because, well, behind most of them there is a good story!
23 October 2014
The things you find at home all these years later. While rummaging through some family shots I came across this picture I took from the commentary scaffold at what was then Buckhurst Park in Suva, Fiji. It shows the Fiji and British Isles teams coming onto the field before the playing of the last game of the Lions 26 match tour of New Zealand and Fiji in 1977. I think the high aspect of the shot might make it unique to Fiji rugby history. The scaffold was so rickety no photographers were allowed on it. This was the day Fiji's national team scored perhaps their most famous home victory. Fiji won 25-21. They could be rightly proud of course but it is true the Lions did not approach the fixture with true dedication. I can still recall their poolside party raging on and keeping me awake 16 hours before kickoff! Read more »
26 September 2014
28 August 2014
I had been to China a number of times before 2014. The main time was for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, then for the Paralympic Games which followed. I was in the country then for nearly two months. I had been for rugby reasons too; Firstly to Shanghai for several IRB 7s rugby tournaments and then there was a similar event in Beijing in 2003. That time the IRB were hoping to impress upon the 2008 Chinese Olympic Games Officials how nicely their game would sit in an Olympic programme. That didn't happen then but it has now. So in 2014 here I was in Nanjing and forgive me if I felt part of a breakthrough rugby broadcast team for the Olympic movement. The Summer Youth Sevens event in Nanjing was great fun. So I made sure I found time to make an appropriate 'location' picture to mark my time in this city. Here I am at the Nanjing Old City Wall with the Olympic rings a backdrop. Construction on the wall was started in 1366. Read more »
16 August 2014
Is this the best photograph ever taken of a rugby dive-pass? If it's not then show me a better one. This is the great Danie Craven playing for South Africa v New Zealand in the third test match of 1937 at Eden Park in Auckland. Some old historians claim Craven 'invented' the dive-pass for a halfback in the 1930s but in fact it was first used to best effect by an earlier Springbok half, by the name of Dauncie Devine - in the South African team which played New Zealand in South Africa in 1928. Read more »
17 June 2014
The All Blacks in full colour playing their test matches are a familiar sight these days. But it was not always that way. This is a freeze-frame photo taken from the first ever live telecast of New Zealand's famous team on television. Coverage was in black and white only and only four cameras intercut the action. Focus on the play a far from the high definition of the modern digital coverage of today. New Zealand beat England in this match in 1954 by 5-0. Read more »
the 1906-07 All Black fullback), Ernest Edward 'General' Booth was born. He was nicknamed after William Booth, the founder and first General of the Salvation Army. After touring Great Britain with the 1905-06 New Zealand team E.E.Booth later became a rugby writer and was one of the first touring rugby correspondents. He travelled with the 1908-9 Australian team to Great Britain. Later still he gained notoriety (in the strictly amateur game of the time) when he was hired as a professional rugby coach by the Southland Rugby Union.
The annual matches played between England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France were known as the Five Nations championship, or the International rugby championship from 1883 to 2000. When Italy joined in 2000 it was logical that the title for the showpiece to be generally known as The Six Nations Championship.
Ii is not widely known that in fact for over 100 years there was no such official tournament by name. The matches played were merely the annual fixtures between the British, Irish and French countries and it was only the media and fans who awarded a ‘Championship’ at the end of the season. There was no official trophy or title at stake. In 1992 official recognition came for the tournament and a trophy was awarded.
Terry Godwin, who wrote a book in 1984 on the international championship’s first 100 years, could find no definite date when public reference to a ‘championship’ was first made. Godwin believed it was near 1893 or 1894, some 10 years after annual matches had begun involving all four British and Irish teams. In the years that followed, only random mention was made to the ‘championship’ winners or ‘wooden spoon’ winners each year. And even when France was added to the list of annual fixtures for the four ‘home’ teams, it was left off published championship tables until after World War I.
The tournament has encouraged its own terminology. A ‘Grand Slam’ is the winning against all five other teams in the same season. A ‘Triple Crown’ refers to British teams winning against the other three home country teams. France or Italy cannot win a Triple Crown.
In the decade from the 1960s through to the fourth test of 1970 the All Blacks played exactly 100 test matches. What % did they win?