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 great Colin Meads plays his last game for his country on this day.
His career as an All Black had lasted 15 seasons inclusive 1957-71. It ended leading NZ to a 14-14 draw again the British and Irish Lions at Eden Park.
Glasgow High School FP and Scotland
37 internationals for Scotland 1921–29
A robust lock, Bannerman is remembered as one of Scotland’s great early players. Bannerman played his internationals consecutively and was also a Scottish captain. His 37 caps stood as a Scottish record until Hugh McLeod beat it in 1962. Interestingly, he never played in an international involving Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.
Bannerman was a Gaelic speaker, and later a prominent Scottish RU administrator (president in 1954–55), though one of the conservatives partly responsible for Scotland’s bleak international record in the early 1950s. A Liberal politician, he became Lord Bannerman, a Life Peer, less than two years before his death.
Name the NZ player who captained the All Blacks to a test match win; then also captained a team to beat the All Blacks within a year?