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.
29 July 2016
The words ‘Living the Dream’ made up the official slogan of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The catchphrase certainly applied for me – AGAIN! – as here I was packing up and setting off for my ninth summer Olympic Games. Read more »
16 July 2016
By Keith Quinn; The omission of Kurt Baker from the 2016 New Zealand men’s Olympic 7s team was a very big surprise to me. Quite amazing in fact... Read more »
16 July 2016
More and more in the last weeks before I flew to Beijing for my eighth Summer Olympic Games, in 2008, I was asked two questions. The first one was, ‘are you looking forward to going to that place, Keith?’ The second one was, ‘how many ‘golds’ will we Kiwis win?” Read more »
12 July 2016
It only seems like yesterday that I travelled to Athens for the 2004 Summer Games. I touched down and stepped out into the seasonal warmth of a glorious 30˚C. Read more »
2 July 2016
My last report here was from Barcelona 1992. I did not attend the Atlanta, USA, Olympics of 2000. Instead, bad luck (I don’t think so!), I was instead on assignment in South Africa on one of the great All Black rugby tours! Read more »
23 June 2016
I tell you the first week of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games was a nightmare to live through. No, it wasn’t because we had a lousy hotel, or the traffic was too tough, or there were horror boycotts to contend with. Read more »
Anti-tour protests and police surrounding the ground in Christchurch made this a tough watch for the fans. But NZ beat South Africa on this day in the first test by 14-9.
Otago and New Zealand
51 internationals for New Zealand 1997-2002
The talented New Zealand utility loose forward, who sadly, might be remembered more as the man who had the unenviable job of returning home after being the captain of the beaten All Blacks at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Such a summary is totally unfair as Randell’s team left for the Cup with excessive expectations from the New Zealand public, and it belies the fact that Randell was a top international forward right through his playing career. It is just that by various All Black selectors he was shunted though three loose forward positions and not ever being allowed to settle in one.
Randell came into the All Blacks on the 1995 tour of France, and within 12 months on the 1996 tour of South Africa he had become a 21 year old captain of the midweek New Zealand team. By 1997 he made his test debut against Fiji at Albany Stadium at North Shore, Auckland. That year, in a gruelling sequence at the time, he played in all 12 tests on the All Blacks programme. One of those was as a number eight forward, the others as a blindside flanker. In the next year the All Black coach John Hart elevated him to the test captaincy. At 23 years old he was the fourth youngest leader in All Black history. He played the first five of those tests as a number eight but was then shuffled back to the flanker’s role.
Initially the captaincy sat kindly on Randell’s shoulders. But as a sequence of defeats crept in, rather than blame the older players, it was the young captain who took the rap from the public. He seemed to lose confidence and, at times, composure.
In 1999, World Cup year, the New Zealand public believed that the spirit of the All Blacks would come through again and young Randell was again charged with leading the team, with the massive trust again on his shoulders.
The All Blacks reached the semi-finals against France at Twickenham but there the New Zealanders world came crashing down. France won 43-31. In Britain (and France no doubt!) the game is remembered as one of the greatest ever seen at Twickenham; in New Zealand it was seen as a national disaster. And heads had to roll. Coach John Hart resigned as soon as the Cup series was over. Randell had to wait till new coach Wayne Smith decided if he wanted to retain him or not. Smith did, but not with the captaincy. Todd Blackadder was preferred instead. The leadership was wrenched away from Randell who had to publicly face the wrath and scorn of the public.
He played most of the season in the team however and after the departure of Smith as coach, (replaced by John Mitchell), and injuries to two further All Black leaders (Anton Oliver and Rueben Thorne) Randell was restored as captain for the late season tour to Europe in 2002. By then, at 28 years old, Randell was a much more mature person and to most people’s delight he handled things well. In the game against France at Paris he became one of the small band of All Blacks who in those times had passed 50 test match appearances.
After the finish of the 2011 Rugby World Cup who were the youngest and oldest players from all countries to win a World Cup medal 1987-2011?