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!
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.
Bagnères and France
39 internationals for France 1971–80
A soccer player until he was 17, Aguirre gained his ﬁrst international caps for France as a scrumhalf in 1971. A season later he changed to fullback and took to the role so readily that he was chosen to play for France in his new position against the All Blacks in early 1973. Injury kept him out of that game but shortly afterwards he coped so well at fullback against Wales that he became the replacement France had been seeking for Pierre Villepreux. He was rarely out of favour for the next six years.
A stylish attacker, Aguirre could also kick goals effectively. He landed six for France in the second test against Argentina in Buenos Aires in 1977, three of them from near halfway. Aguirre also landed a massive 65-metre kick on Wellington’s Athletic Park in 1979. Yet it is as a brilliantly versatile runner that he is remembered. He played a major part in France’s 24–19 win over New Zealand in 1979 – the famous ‘Bastille Day’ victory.
Aguirre later became a radio broadcaster on the game.
In the decade from the 1960s through to the fourth test of 1970 the All Blacks played exactly 100 test matches. What % did they win?