Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
2 January 2016
Starting off 2016's favourite photo section with a cricket pic instead of rugby? Why not? It's my website! But read on with the slight rugby connection!
In November 2015, just after the end of the 2015 Rugby World Cup my wife and I took a trip to Adelaide to watch the first-ever day/night cricket test.
And it was money well spent!
We loved the game between New Zealand and Australia and its three-day excitement (and also the two days of wine touring South Australia which therefore followed!)
I took my camera to the ground and pointed it at the (historic?) moment when Brendan McCullum packed in seven slips (or four slips and three gulleys) as his NZ team pressed ever aggressively for late wickets to fall by the Aussies on the third night.
The wickets didn't tumble and Australia won - but I think the photo has merit. The seven slips were only in place for about 3 balls.
There was a slight rugby connection for me at the famous Adelaide Oval. For about five years I was part of the broadcast team which commentated sevens there on the IRB tour. But on those occasions I was dumb and numb. Each year the media had, as their working room, the Australian cricket team's dressing room. Around the hallowed walls were honours boards with great cricketing name's achievements listed (including D.G.Bradman's many times)
But in those five years did I take one photograph to possibly include here?
No - not one!
A dramatic day & a tough match but a 15-12 South Africa win over the All Blacks. Their captain Francois Pienaar received the World Cup from his President Nelson Mandela.
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.
Two of Ireland's most famous players were known as Jackie Kyle and Willie-John McBride; what were the two 'proper' Christian names each man had?