Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
25 November 2017
From time to time there are those rugby fans who nostalgically reflect on their time in the game; and they do it by the magic of poetry. You will find some memorable efforts on this website. This latest one comes from James Simpson of New Zealand who clearly remembers with enormous affection his days of playing in the hooking position - and his enormous respect for others who did so too.
The Ace In The Pack
He hangs between two henchmen all Cauliflower ears,
Knuckles and boots their stock-in-trade
Their most sociable act is sculling their beers
No lovers of high debate
For free thought is something found in the North
No need for it way down here
Our traditions and rituals rule the way we go forth
We act without fancy or fear
No video ref nor rulings from touch
We fix faults off our own bat
Our answer to those who doth protesteth too much
Is to 'Take that and that and that.'
Some say a fine mind marks a man out
For life as a great physician
But a fine mind will only cause doubt
When playing the hookers position
Diagnostic skills the pundits go on
Are traits more fitting a back
But those in the know in the front row club
Say such powers are much prized in the pack
Tho’ strong arms and thick skulls when put to the test
Are assets that front rowers like
And tho’ he had them as well we’ll remember him best
For the snakelike speed of his strike
And we’ll also remember in years to come
Like Anzacs from warfare and strife
The attitudes forged in the heat of the scrum
Will last you the rest of your life.
Wellington, New Zealand
With Cavaliers players banned a very young NZ team, under their captain David Kirk, and with 11 new test players, beat France 18-9 in Christchurch.
Western Province and South Africa
8 internationals for South Africa 1955–58
A hard-nosed loose forward, Dawie Ackermann, described by one South African writer as ‘symmetrically built’, was at his very best as a ﬂanker in the three tests he played against the 1955 British Lions team and in two tests against the All Blacks in 1956. After being part of the Springbok team which surprisingly lost to the French XV in 1958, he was no longer required by the South African selectors.
In his frustration Dawie Ackermann turned to the ﬂedgling sport of rugby league and he is remembered as the captain of South Africa’s ﬁrst (and only) touring league team in 1963. The tour to Australia and New Zealand was not a success (even though the South Africans beat New Zealand) and Ackermann and league did not re-surface in South Africa.
Who was the New Zealand test cricketer who played one rugby test for England?