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
The first test match played on Wellington's new Westpac Stadium with not a good start by the AB's!
Wallaby captain John Eales lands a 45 metre last minute penalty and the new pride and joy of Wellington is Christened with a 24-23 loss!
The annual matches played between England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France were known as the Five Nations championship, or the International rugby championship from 1883 to 2000. When Italy joined in 2000 it was logical that the title for the showpiece to be generally known as The Six Nations Championship.
Ii is not widely known that in fact for over 100 years there was no such official tournament by name. The matches played were merely the annual fixtures between the British, Irish and French countries and it was only the media and fans who awarded a ‘Championship’ at the end of the season. There was no official trophy or title at stake. In 1992 official recognition came for the tournament and a trophy was awarded.
Terry Godwin, who wrote a book in 1984 on the international championship’s first 100 years, could find no definite date when public reference to a ‘championship’ was first made. Godwin believed it was near 1893 or 1894, some 10 years after annual matches had begun involving all four British and Irish teams. In the years that followed, only random mention was made to the ‘championship’ winners or ‘wooden spoon’ winners each year. And even when France was added to the list of annual fixtures for the four ‘home’ teams, it was left off published championship tables until after World War I.
The tournament has encouraged its own terminology. A ‘Grand Slam’ is the winning against all five other teams in the same season. A ‘Triple Crown’ refers to British teams winning against the other three home country teams. France or Italy cannot win a Triple Crown.
Who captained the All Blacks at the 1991 Rugby World Cup?