Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
You are here: Home » Does USA still have THIS far to go in its rugby hopes v New Zealand?
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 1906-07 All Black fullback), Ernest Edward 'General' Booth was born. He was nicknamed after William Booth, the founder and first General of the Salvation Army. After touring Great Britain with the 1905-06 New Zealand team E.E.Booth later became a rugby writer and was one of the first touring rugby correspondents. He travelled with the 1908-9 Australian team to Great Britain. Later still he gained notoriety (in the strictly amateur game of the time) when he was hired as a professional rugby coach by the Southland Rugby Union.
Once allowed in the game of rugby union, hacking was the practice of bringing a running player down by kicking him in the shins. After several players were severely injured, and one was even killed, measures were taken to have the practice banned in 1871. Many were the protests in Letters to the Editor columns of London newspapers at the time, centred mostly on a ‘softening’ of the game! A number of clubs wanted to maintain hacking as it endorsed the ‘manliness’ of the sport.
In fact hacking played a significant part in the formation of the sport of rugby. When the Football Association (soccer) was formed in 1863, its rules banned handling, running with the ball and hacking. The Blackheath Football Club in London refused to accept that type of game and helped to confirm the new game based on the running, handling rules of Rugby School, which allowed hacking and tripping of a ball-carrying player. Ironically, Blackheath and Richmond later led the drive to have hacking banned after the toll of injuries became too high.The practice was even banned at Rugby School.
Since then hacking has (thankfully) been lost to the game of rugby.
Who was the New Zealand test cricketer who played one rugby test for England?