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!
The local Illawarra team played the All Blacks and a young New Zealander called Colin Meads, aged 20, made his AB debut. 15 seasons later he retired as one of the greats!
Birkenhead Park, and England
3 internationals for England 1900
Respected as a diligent and determined administrator in England, but reviled in New Zealand as the man who stole the All Blacks’ birthright, ‘Bim’ Baxter holds a key place in rugby history.
Already a member of the IRB, and England team manager to Argentina in 1927, Baxter was appointed manager of the 1930 British touring team to New Zealand and Australia.
There he was outspoken, to say the least, in his denunciation of the New Zealand wing forward position. Baxter stated the wing forward was ‘nothing more than a cheat’, and his influence on the world scene led to the framing of laws which effectively stamped out the two-man front row, and with it the wing forward position.
Baxter was also highly critical of the game of rugby league. When being shown the sights of Auckland, Carlaw Park, the local rugby league ground, was pointed out to him. Baxter offered a quip that has always been quoted by Kiwi league followers when their rivalry with rugby union is discussed. Baxter said of the park, ‘Every town must have its sewers.’
Baxter was an international referee on nine occasions and was on the IRB from 1926–39. A silver medal-winning yachtsman at the 1908 Olympics, Baxter was also involved in golf and rowing.
What was significant about J.I.Rees (Wales) and W.R.Logan (Scotland) captaining their countries against each other in 1937?