Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
17 October 2016
In the 1950s and 60s when a South African rugby team left home for a major overseas tour they always carried with them a splendidly mounted Springbok trophy head. The trophy would be presented to the first team that beat the South Africans on any trip.
In 1965 a confident Springbok team arrived in Wellington for just the second tour game, of a 24-match itinerary. Buoyed by a 32-3 win in their first game at Gisborne against Poverty Bay-East Coast they then ran into a powerhouse Wellington team. Though it was only 1-try each the final score favoured the home team by 23-6. So the Springbok head was duly handed over to the Wellington captain Ken Gray.
Such moments are not forgotten, nor are the trophies hidden away to gather dust. In 2016 at the Wellington Rugby Union's 'Old Timer's Day' 51 years after the epic victory, two of the senior players wanted to record their presence with the trophy one more time. Here are Gary Hermansson and Neven MacEwan, the number eight forward and lock forward respectively from the Wellington team
To this writer's eye not one of the three 'people' in this photo have aged a jot!
It was the Welsh RU's 100th Centennial game. Expectations were high in Cardiff that day for a big home win but Graham Mourie's All Blacks took the cake 23-3!
Toulon, Béziers and France
17 internationals for France 1954–60
A café proprietor from Béziers, Danos was a key member of the famous French team which beat the Springboks in South Africa in 1958. He was the darting, diving scrumhalf of the team, committed to sharp running and passing, as well as being a dropped-goal specialist. It was his goal at Newlands which drew the first test for a French XV which had looked in danger of defeat. Indeed, it was said that Danos had such a sharp eye that he only ever drop-kicked for goal when he was certain it would go over. On that tour he made three attempts for three goals.
Danos is remembered for coining one of rugby’s classic quotes. Describing the differences between the various physical types who could play rugby, Danos simplified them to being just two types – ‘Those who play pianos and those who shift them.’
Piri Weepu played 71 tests for the All Blacks; how many times did he play for the full 80 minutes?