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!
10 June 2015
A visit to the Carmarthen Athletic Club in west Wales is well worthwhile. I did it in 2015. The collection of jerseys and memorabilia is famous throughout the rugby world. The club's unique boot collection was started by the President Gwynne King Morgan back in the 1960s. He approached members of the 1967 All Blacks who, because of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease were not allowed to take their boots home. Mr King swooped - and Colin Meads's pair - with an autographed card still attached - proudly still sits there. Read more »
15 May 2015
If you are in England and near the town of Rugby in Warwickshire it really behoves you to pay a visit, right? So this year I did and after a night in the nearby village of Dunchurch a visit to Rugby on its Market Day was a must - and fun. Read more »
8 May 2015
It is known that 13 All Blacks died in World War I. Three All Blacks died in Flanders Fields, Belgium. This year on a tour with my wife and friends I visited the three headstones of those who fell in Flanders. This one was at the Underhill Cemetery, near Messines in one direction and Ploegsteert on the other. (The Kiwi soldiers and others called it Plug Street in the same way the town of Ypres became 'Wipers' in mis-pronunciation.) The Underhill Cemetery was so named because it near to a spot that Kiwi tunnelers began to dig to undermine the German held town (of Messines). Read more »
8 May 2015
It was with a particular sadness that I visited the last resting place of the Ponsonby Club's All Black hooker from 1913 and 1914, George Sellars. Read more »
6 May 2015
I consider it a very good fortune from my life to have visited the gravesite of the first All Black captain Dave Gallaher a number of times. I first went in 1991 with some All Blacks of the second Rugby World Cup team. But that day one of the team behaved very badly by goose-stepping between the rows and rows of quietly standing headstones. When the player even stuck two fingers under his nose and raised one arm in a disgusting 'Hitler Salute' as he marched I could have killed the young bastard! Read more »
22 April 2015
I've been lucky enough to go to the Japan Sevens for the last few years. Its always a fun event to be at, and not always held in the finest of weather conditions. Now we hear that this year's event will be the last in Tokyo. From next year Singapore will follow after the Hong Kong tournament. So in future we'll miss seeing sights like the one here - which shows all the local staff''s shoes outside the Japanese TV production and commentary boxes at Chichibu Stadium. Read more »
The light was so dense and dark the fans couldn't see v Scotland. Through the murk NZ won 18-9, finishing a run of 4 wins over UK unions on the same tour.
Universitaire de France and France
1 international for France 1910
This player is another of rugby’s unusual internationals from early in the twentieth century.
Joe Anduran, an art dealer, was in his shop in Paris one day when a taxi pulled up outside and several ofﬁcials of the French Rugby Federation climbed out. Apparently they had just seen the French team depart from the railway station as they headed off to play Wales in Swansea on New Year’s Day, 1910. But only 14 Frenchmen had gone on the train; the 15th was held up in Bordeaux while doing his military service.
So the ofﬁcials were sent on an urgent errand around Paris to ﬁnd another forward for the game to be played next day. Their search eventually took them to Joe Anduran’s art shop. Anduran was a useful club player in Paris but nothing more, and at ﬁrst he thought it was a joke when the strangers asked him if he wanted to play for France the next day. He was persuaded to leave immediately, but he soon found his ﬁrst obstacle in making the trip to Swansea was not so much the booking on the cross-channel ferry, but his wife!
Madame Anduran, it seems, did not share her husband’s pride in being selected to play for France – she had made arrangements for Joe to do some family visiting with her the next day. However, soon Joe Anduran was on the train for Swansea, where the next day he ran on to St Helen’s ﬁeld for his debut for France.
Wales won the game by the handsome margin of 49 points to 14. Not surprisingly, Joe Anduran was one of those who was axed by the French selectors in their reshufﬂe of the badly beaten team and he was never seen again in the French colours.A good story for the history books though!
Why was the France v Ireland match of 1913 played in the morning in Cork?