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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!
Born in Stratford, Taranaki and All Black prop Mark Allen was forever known as 'Bull' (named after an American TV character). He became so popular Rugby Park in Taranaki was re-named the 'Bull Ring' for a time.
Buller, Wellington, and Scotland
2 internationals for New Zealand 1921
8 internationals for Scotland 1924–29
One of a number of players to have played for more than one country, Aitken came from Buller in New Zealand’s South Island. He made his ﬁrst-class debut as a teenager before the outbreak of World War I and resumed his career after the war.
Aitken’s debut for New Zealand in 1921 was in the ﬁrst test against South Africa – the ﬁrst game between the two countries.
Two years later Aitken, having been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, was in England studying at Oxford University. After becoming an Oxford rugby blue he won his ﬁrst cap for Scotland in 1924. (He had Scottish parents.)
George Aitken was a centre of considerable speed and talent. He is perhaps best remembered in the rugby world as part of a very fast and dangerous Oxford University three-quarter line, all of whom joined him in the Scottish international team at various times.
What caused confusion for the TV reporters when the All Blacks 1987 Rugby World Cup team was announced on live TV in Whangarei, New Zealand?