Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
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MY TAKE ON SOME OF THE RUGBY NEWS STORIES WHICH COME INTO MY WORLD.
15 May 2015
Here's how an Olympic Rugby Gold Medal will look for those winners of the Men's and Women's competitions in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. They are a simple design - you might even say not particularly artistic - but they will be so keenly fought for! Read more »
6 May 2015
One of the key reasons for my tour to Europe and North America this year was to visit and pay homage to World War I battlefields and to the rugbymen who died there. We did that for sure, but not before meeting our guide and having lunch at a very appropriate place for New Zealand war watchers in Belgium. Read more »
22 April 2015
Here's an obituary about an old Irish star forward who will be much missed. I met Jimmy McCarthy a number of times. Not only was he a lovely, friendly bloke but the Irish players of modern times loved him too. He was seemingly always close to the national team. This report on his death I reprint from the Irish Rugby Football Union's official website; Read more »
10 March 2015
Special guest writer Adam Julian of Wellington delivers here a very fair profile on the rugby life and post-rugby life of 78 year old Ian Neven MacEwan. Read more »
4 March 2015
NEW ZEALAND SEVENS TEAMS IN THE 2014-15 SERIES (In brackets; are the Keith Quinn performance ratings for each player out of 10 so far this season) Read more »
20 February 2015
I found this quote the other day while trying to find out a few notes about the 2015 Kenyan Rugby Sevens team ahead of the next HSBC Sevens World Series event in Las Vegas. When the star Kenyan try-scorer Collins Injera was urgently called home after the earlier Wellington Sevens to be with his wife who was expecting a baby any day suddenly it was considerable news. I put the news comment in here just because I like the way the Kenyan team management speak about their man. Enjoy it... 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!
Leicester, Harlequins and England
31 internationals for England 1920–27
William Wavell Wakefield was a highly successful player, thinker, innovator and captain. He became one of the world game’s best administrators, becoming an England committeeman before rising to be president of the Rugby Football Union in 1950. He served as a delegate on the International Rugby Board for the seven years up until 1961 and wrote extensively about the game, in his later years becoming a symbol of wise counsel for amateur rugby and its future.
The young Wavell Wakefield was a supremely fit rugby player, winning his 31 international caps as a flanker, lock or No. 8. He first played for England in 1920, when a strong Welsh side thrashed him and 10 other new caps. The selectors persevered with many of the new players, and out of their rising confidence came one of England’s best eras.
The England team, with Wakefield, the brilliant halfbacks ‘Dave’ Davies and Cyril Kershaw, Cyril Lowe the wing, and forwards Tom Voyce and Ronald Cove-Smith, combined to win the Five Nations crown three times in the first four years of the 1920s.
Wakefield played his first 21 internationals consecutively, winning 17 times with one draw. By 1927, when he was hampered by injuries, the highly popular and respected ‘Wakers’ had reached 31 caps – an England record for any position and one that stood until 1969, when it was passed by D.P. ‘Budge’ Rogers.
Wakefield is often remembered as one of England’s best captains and tactical planners. As captain of Cambridge University and England, he insisted on each member of the forward pack undertaking set roles, rather than plodding together from set piece to set piece, as had been the style.
Under his leadership, England’s back row combinations became the first in the world to work together as a ‘team’, which is commonplace in modern times. Certainly he was highly successful. In his seven seasons in the England team he took part in three championship wins, three Triple Crowns and three Grand Slams. It is a tribute to him that those years came to be known in English rugby as the ‘Wakefield Era’.
After his active rugby days he was a Member of Parliament and then became the first Baron Wakefield of Kendal. He died in 1983.
When did an international rugby team play a full game and then travel to another country to play a second full game on the same day?