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MY TAKE ON SOME OF THE RUGBY NEWS STORIES WHICH COME INTO MY WORLD.
30 May 2016
The first 15-aside All Blacks squad of 2016 has been released by the NZRU. Ardie Savea is one of 6 confirmed new caps. Which means he’s also now a member of another ‘exclusive’ New Zealand rugby club; those who were picked first by Gordon Tietjens as New Zealand sevens reps. That list is now climbing fast towards 50 players. Below is my up-date list of ‘Titch’ All Blacks – or rather – the list of ‘he saw them first All Blacks!’ Read more »
26 April 2016
When I attempt to write a tribute about the late New Zealand broadcaster Peter Sellers it is very hard to know where and how to start. Firstly, anyone who is reading this who lives offshore from New Zealand might be saying now, ‘wasn’t Peter Sellers that very funny and talented British actor/comedian of the 1960s? Didn’t he die in 1980?’ Read more »
23 March 2016
In many ways it took the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada to set several new standards for hosting and staging tournaments of the HSBC World Sevens series. Read on... Read more »
4 March 2016
These last few days there have been many fine tributes to test cricketer Martin Crowe. After his death the accolades to Martin have all been warm and all deserved.I was never a cricketer of any note but I would like to offer a tribute to him here if I may. Because Martin Crowe became a huge influence in my life. Read more »
10 January 2016
Here is the latest question to test the real rugby experts among us (self-styled or not) You might even call yourself a nerd! But the question has been raised to me in recent days - what is the widest age gap between two players playing in the same team of a full and official rugby test match. Read more »
3 January 2016
They say a week in politics is a long time. A lot can change... You could say that for a rugby referee the same principle applies. Back in 1971 Humphrey Rainey of Wellington who died on Boxing Day 2015 at the age of 89, was on his way to perhaps getting the call to control a test match on the British Lions tour Down Under of that year. But a week passed after a highly controversial match - and he did not. Read more »
By a 20-point winning margin over France the All Blacks become the first winners of the William Webb Ellis Trophy. A great day for the game worldwide!
Wellington, New Zealand
15 internationals for N. Zealand 1972–77
The Scottish TV commentator Bill McLaren best described this busy and talented All Black. He said that Batty went at his game like a ‘little buzz-saw’, and indeed he did.
Grant Batty was a rarity in All Black rugby of the early 1970s. He was a back (a wing mostly) who had genuine speed, aggression and inventiveness. Although small in stature, he was never one to step back from a physical confrontation, no matter how imposing his opponent might have been. Not everyone in New Zealand could cope with a player of his brilliance and physical approach, and although New Zealanders were more than grateful on several occasions for his feisty presence on the field, he was always regarded as controversial.
Batty was received in a similar light wherever he played in the rugby world. Cardiff crowds booed him when he played there with the All Blacks in 1972–73. He replied by playing brilliantly. South African crowds treated him the same way. Batty responded by showing immense courage and playing on even after sustaining a near-crippling knee injury. Such was his value to the All Blacks that they insisted on playing him in the tests even though he had to run about with a metal cast hidden under his knee bandages.
Sadly, Batty’s knee problems became so bad he was forced out of rugby at the age of 25.
Controversial he might have been, but the crowds in New Zealand and elsewhere always flocked in to watch Batty.
He later shifted to Australia and by the 1990s had begun a long-term association on the coaching staff of the Queensland Reds team and other club sides.
How many test matches did Alan Whetton play for the All Blacks? 34,35 or 36?