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28 October 2014
According to one great cartoon from over 30 years ago....progress has been slow for USA rugby in their hopes of ever beating the All Blacks. Check this version out here.
When working for TVNZ in 1986 I wrote a book called 'New Zealand Sporting Disasters, Disappointments and Curiosities.' It did quite well and was reprinted six years later. The cartoons in it were the brilliant work of George Martin. I tried to write in a humorous way about some of the 'shockers' New Zealand sport had had over the years. Working upstairs then in the art department at the Avalon TV complex was George Martin, himself a man with a brilliant sports playing pedigree. I commissioned the ideas for the cartoons for the book and George brought them to life superbly.
This one here came when I wrote, as a 'Curiosity' about the All Blacks rugby team playing USA at Berkeley, California in 1913 and winning by 51-3 and then 77 years later the 1980 All Blacks went back to USA to San Diego and beat the Eagles by 53-6. I had kept a clipping from the 'Sports Illustrated' magazine who had sent one of their leading columnists out to see the game.
Dan Levin memorably wrote; 'The final score was All Blacks 53 USA Eagles 6, which was one point closer than the last time the two teams had met in 1913. On the scale of improvement shown by the USA in 1980 the United States can expect to draw a game against New Zealand in the year 5129!'
The quote became George Martin's vision of what the game of rugby might look like thousands of years into the future!
[Note; Since 1980 the All Blacks and USA have met one more time. In 1991 in Gloucester at the 2nd Rugby World Cup New Zealand won by 46-6. You would now perhaps have to do some more serious maths to work out what year it could be now re-calculated that USA would get a draw!]
Oh! Aren't we New Zealand rugby reporters arrogant!
The All Blacks began their defence of the William Webb Ellis Trophy...by beating England at Twickenham by 18-12.
One of the more prominent Welsh clubs, Aberavon was founded in 1876 and is centred at Port Talbot, near Swansea. After a particularly bright period of play in the 1920s, the Aberavon team became known as the ‘Wizards’. The name stuck and today a wizard is incorporated in the club’s monogram.
With the tough industrial and employment conditions associated with the coalﬁelds and steelworks of south Wales in recent years, so has Aberavon undergone tough times. These days the club is semi-professional and has had only modest success. In 2001 it did win the National Division One club league for the third time.
The club had four famous three-quarters in the 1920s – John Ring, Alun Edwards, Syd Williams and Arthur Bassett – but all later switched to rugby league. The club’s 1984 top try-scorer, Kevin James, also left the district to play league. In 1985 he played for Hull in rugby league’s top match of the year, the Challenge Cup ﬁnal.
Aberavon’s leading cap-winner for Wales is Allan Martin, who played 34 internationals for his country between 1973 and 1981. The big lock also toured with the British Isles to New Zealand (1977) and to South Africa (1980).
Other prominent Wizards from over the years include John Bevan (Welsh international 1975, British Isles tour to New Zealand 1977 and Welsh national team coach 1982–86); Ned Jenkins (21 internationals for Wales 1927–32); Tony O’Connor (ﬁve internationals for Wales 1960–62, British Isles tour to South Africa 1962); and Clive Williams (Welsh international prop 1977–83 who later played for Swansea and toured New Zealand with the British Isles 1977 and South Africa 1980). Billy James (1983-87) is the only club player to have captained the Welsh national XV.
One family which had a close association with Aberavon is the family of Richard Burton. The famous actor used to recall that his father always used to say,‘when I die, do not bury me on a Saturday. If you do you will miss watching The Wizards play.”
The Aberavon team plays in red and black hooped jerseys,
Why was the France v Ireland match of 1913 played in the morning in Cork?