Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
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28 February 2015
This is me at Ellis Park in Johannesburg in South Africa in 1976. Why did this young reporter want to have his picture taken right there? It wasn't just because my name was on the building behind. Click on 'Favourite Photos' here to read about that location's fascinating and sad role in South African rugby history.
The great All Black Colin Meads was sent off v Scotland at Murrayfield. Did he deserve to go? All NZ says 'no!' But the ref had the final say.
Birkenhead Park, and England
3 internationals for England 1900
Respected as a diligent and determined administrator in England, but reviled in New Zealand as the man who stole the All Blacks’ birthright, ‘Bim’ Baxter holds a key place in rugby history.
Already a member of the IRB, and England team manager to Argentina in 1927, Baxter was appointed manager of the 1930 British touring team to New Zealand and Australia.
There he was outspoken, to say the least, in his denunciation of the New Zealand wing forward position. Baxter stated the wing forward was ‘nothing more than a cheat’, and his influence on the world scene led to the framing of laws which effectively stamped out the two-man front row, and with it the wing forward position.
Baxter was also highly critical of the game of rugby league. When being shown the sights of Auckland, Carlaw Park, the local rugby league ground, was pointed out to him. Baxter offered a quip that has always been quoted by Kiwi league followers when their rivalry with rugby union is discussed. Baxter said of the park, ‘Every town must have its sewers.’
Baxter was an international referee on nine occasions and was on the IRB from 1926–39. A silver medal-winning yachtsman at the 1908 Olympics, Baxter was also involved in golf and rowing.
Who was the New Zealand test cricketer who played one rugby test for England?