Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
11 August 2014
Yes it really is going to happen! For those of us over the years who have wondered at an apparent oversight - or even a grave injustice (you can take your pick) it seems that an amalgamation between two World Rugby Halls of Fame is going to be very good news for the great New Zealand All Black Sir Colin Meads.
From 1997 a privately owned body, headquartered in New Zealand, which called itself the International Rugby Hall of Fame, had held functions every couple of years and successfully 'inducted' several dozen of the world's top international players into their IRHOF. They were great parties I must say - I attended some of them.
Included in the opening 'First XV' party held in London was none other than Colin Meads.
Then as the years rolled into the new Millennium, watching from the sidelines it seems the International Rugby Board liked the idea too of having a Hall of Fame. In 2006 the IRB therefore began their own Hall and gradually they phased out the IRHOF. How that happened is a sidebar here and probably not worth going into. Suffice to say the two bodies did not admire each other for a long time.
But as the years rolled by and over 100 men, famous teams, referees, administrators and even some media were inducted ot the IRB's Hall of Fame there seemed to have been a glaring oversight. The great Meads was always overlooked.
Forget that he had been voted by the New Zealand public as their 'Player of the Century' in 1999, and that he was a Commander of the British Empire in New Zealand, and then Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II - there was never a place for him in the IRB Hall of Fame.
There was still no place even when eight other New Zealanders were voted in ahead of him!
And no disrepect to Alfred St George Hamersley, or Vladimir Ilyushin, or the Tsimba brothers, Richard and Kennedy - or Ian Campbell the father of Chilean rugby - surely our 'Pinetree' deserved a place. Have you heard of the other people and theri contribution?
Well, forget all of the aforementioned - now in 2014-15 it is going to change. Following a protracted series of meetings between the IRB and the IRHOF the two Halls will merge. And all those previously inducted into the IRHOF will now go into the IRB Hall.
And quite right too.
Putting it simply, as one who has long campaigned for Meads's inclusion in the IRB Hall (while sometimes feeling like a lone voice I might add) all i can say is -'BOUT BLOODY TIME TOO!
Jack Manchester's All Blacks are beaten 13-0 by England at Twickenham, with the Russian Prince Alexander Obolensky as a winger, dashing in for 2 tries.
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.
Piri Weepu played 71 tests for the All Blacks; how many times did he play for the full 80 minutes?