Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
10 August 2014
Another Peter Fatialofa story; this one from well-known New Zealand author, columnist and broadcaster Phil Gifford.
As Phil tells it; 'One time Peter and I were both speaking at the same sports dinner. In Peter's speech he also decided to hark back to the great win by Samoa over Wales in 1991 at the Rugby World Cup. He told the dinner; 'When I gave my final team talk to the boys before the game that day I told them I myself was prepared to do anything for victory in the game, 'to break an arm, break a leg or even break my neck in order to win.'
Phil Gifford said the sincerity of Peter's speech went down really well with the dinner crowd.
But when the two men were driving to the airport afterwards Fats leaned over to Phil and whispered, 'You know I wasn't completely honest with that speech back there. When I said that I had told the team I was prepared to break an arm or a leg or my neck to win, well, I was bullshitting about the neck!'
Australia played a superb game in the RWCup semi-final to beat Gary Whetton's NZ team by 16-6 in Dublin.
Auckland, North Auckland, and New Zealand
2 internationals for New Zealand 1921
Although he played first-class rugby between 1916 and 1928, and in 15 matches for New Zealand 1920–24, Ces Badeley is better known as the man who was briefly the captain of the 1924 All Blacks.
Twenty-three of the players who later were to become the ‘Invincibles’ on their tour of Britain, France and Canada, first made a four-match visit to Sydney. Badeley was the captain, but played only the first match because of a knee injury. Returning to New Zealand, the team, and Badeley, played two further matches, and the captain’s play received wide praise.
Although the New Zealand union had stated the captaincy would be reviewed before the British tour, it was a surprise when, no sooner had Badeley made a speech on behalf of the team at a parliamentary farewell, than Cliff Porter was announced as captain.
In later years, Badeley supposed his knee injury was a reason, but it is possible that a clique of senior players privately decided on Porter during the voyage back from Sydney. Mark Nicholls was said to be a key factor in these deliberations as – like Badeley – he was a five-eighths, and a confident one at that: Nichols apparently was in no doubt he should play all the major matches.
The offhand treatment of Badeley didn’t finish there. He played only two games on the 32-match tour, despite being regularly clearly fit to play. In fact his major activity for the rest of the famous tour was to act sometimes as back coach.
Once the team was well on track for its unbeaten record, Badeley had no chance of playing. The under-utilised young wing, Alan Robilliard, who himself had only four games in Britain and France, has said that the unbeaten record became paramount to the team and it was inevitable the top players would be fielded for most games.
In the Rugby World Cups 1987-2011 which final drew the biggest crowd?