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 »
On the last game of their UK tour in Cardiff, Wales beat NZ by 3-0. Ted Morgan scored a try for the home team which the All Blacks disputed forever more.
Heriot’s FP, Leicester, and Scotland
27 internationals for Scotland 1957–65
5 internationals for British Isles 1959
A brilliant runner and tactical wizard of Scottish rugby, Kenneth Scotland became much more than the man who played for the country of his name. He was a player who was years; decades even, ahead of his time. As a rugby country, New Zealand in particular could not believe his style of play when he toured there with the British Isles in 1959. Only with the advantage of hindsight was Ken Scotland recognised as being a rugby genius.
Ken Scotland eventually equaled the Scottish record for caps won by a fullback (25 caps, along with Dan Drysdale), but he could cope in any position in the backline. He was a scrumhalf too, (playing two important games in that position in New Zealand for the Lions in 1959). He was also flyhalf (two caps when captaining Scotland in 1963) and a centre (two games for the Lions in 1959, including the fourth test won at Auckland).
Only slightly built, he was a running fullback years before Andy Irvine, Serge Blanco, David Campese and others revolutionised that previously ‘steady’ position. Ken Scotland set new standards as a counter-attacker and back line intruder, and did it superbly.
New Zealanders in particular marvelled at his running brilliance. In the first match of the Lions tour he showed Kiwi fans what he’d been showing British crowds for a couple of years. Scotland ran in three successive tries from fullback against Hawkes Bay in the tour opener and scored 10 tries in all on tour.
Scotland was also an innovative goal-kicker. Though he could kick straight-on using the toe, he also experimented successfully with the round-the-corner style and was one of the first players anywhere to perfect the method. He was also expert at drop-kicking for goal.
He was educated at George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh, one of a series of international fullbacks to emerge from that school (including Dan Drysdale and Andy Irvine). Scotland made his international debut against France in Paris in 1957, scoring all the points for his side as it won 6–0. It was the first time in 19 years that a Scot had achieved such a feat.
He suffered a loss of form in 1958 but by 1959 was back in favour and in the Lions team on tour ‘down under’. From then he was a first choice for his country until 1963. His last international was against France in 1965.
Which Irish rugby player of modern vintage has the nickname of '36?'