Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
1 June 2014
This is an example of never giving up in sports;
In 1980 after a full decade of trying - and 16 straight defeats of him by the great Jimmy Connors - Vitas Gerulaitis finally beat Connors, who was his friend and rival. The match was at Madison Square Garden, New York, and was a 5-set thriller.
The triumphant Vitas sauntered into his aftermatch press conference and began by wagging his finger at the gathered media. "Now you listen you people," he said urgently,"let that be a lesson to you all. Nobody - but nobody - beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row!"
No problems to Farah Palmer's team in Barcelona. In the final they beat England 19-9.
A Maori challenge, or war dance, which is traditionally performed by New Zealand rugby teams before their test matches. Vigorous, aggressive and intimidating, the haka was a ritual dance performed as much to fire up its proponents as to strike terror into the hearts of the enemy. In the rugby context, the haka issues to the opposition the challenge to play hard and well.
The first New Zealand team to perform the haka was the 1905–06 team in Britain. The 1928 All Black team in South Africa did the haka and the South Africans replied with a war chant of their own, being made up on the morning of the game!
New Zealanders know that when All Black teams are made up only of Pakeha players (Europeans), the haka is never performed with the vigour and feeling exhibited by Maori players.
Originally the haka was only performed by New Zealand teams when they were playing away from home, but when Scotland toured New Zealand in 1975 and later during the World Cup games in 1987, the haka was from then on always seen within New Zealand too. It is enormously popular in all the countries visited by New Zealand teams.
Which international rugby player who went to two Rugby World Cups also won two Olympic Games Gold Medals and 2 World Championship bronze medals in a chosen 'other' sport?