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 »
The great DB Clarke kicks the last ever Goal From a Mark in a test for NZ and the England are denied a test win by 9-6 in Christchurch.
Llanelli and Wales
2 internationals for Wales 1958
A brilliant rugby man whether as a player, coach, lecturer, broadcaster or writer.
Carwyn James had the misfortune to play in the same era as the great Cliff Morgan, and it was not until 1958 that he played flyhalf for Wales, when it beat Australia by 9–3 at Cardiff. James kicked a dropped goal. Later that season he played centre against France, outside Morgan.
It was as a coach that the quietly-spoken James made his mark on world rugby. Without ever having coached Wales, he was elected to guide the 1971 British Isles team in New Zealand. Under his quiet tutelage the Lions played winning rugby against the All Blacks, and James’s innate tactical judgments and expert reading of opposition strengths shot him into world prominence.
His reputation was enhanced in 1972–73, when he coached Llanelli to its famous win over the All Blacks. He was also the guiding hand behind the Barbarians club’s fortunes against the All Blacks in the final game of that same tour — a game said by many to be the greatest game ever played. James later coached with considerable success in Italy, where his influence on the players at the Rovigo club was said to be enormous.
Personal differences between James and some members of the Welsh Rugby Union meant that he never coached the national team, although at the time he was clearly a very good candidate for the job.
After his spell of coaching he turned to writing and broadcasting, where he proved to be very successful, with a turn of phrase that said much for his intellect and rugby wisdom. He wrote several coaching and historical manuals on the game and was an expert interpreter of rugby on television and radio.
James was an ardent Welsh nationalist who turned down an OBE after the Lions tour of New Zealand. He spoke Welsh fluently and encouraged others to do the same.
Carwyn James collapsed and died in the Netherlands in 1983, and was deeply mourned by his friends and colleagues. Many called him a genius of rugby, though it was also said he was a prophet of the game who was never honoured in his own country. The prominent English writer, John Reason, called Carwyn James ‘the best coach the world has yet seen’.
Why was the kickoff for the Japan v Wales in Cardiff in 1983 delayed for 15 minutes?