Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
8 August 2014
The men’s and women’s rugby sevens competitions at Nanjing 2014 will be held at the city’s Youth Olympic Sports Park on 17-20 August, with 72 players taking part in each.
Both tournaments will be contested by six teams with players aged between 14-18 years of age. They will feature an initial round-robin phase, with teams playing twice a day. Games will consist of two halves of seven minutes, with a two-minute break for half-time. Three points will be awarded for a win, two for a draw and one for a defeat.
The top four teams in the group phase will go forward to the semi-finals, with the top team playing the fourth-placed side and second meeting third, while the teams finishing fifth and sixth in the group will meet in a play-off for fifth place.
The medal matches on 20 August will feature two halves of 10 minutes. The day’s programme will begin with the bronze-medal matches, followed by the women’s final and then the men’s gold medal match.
Therefore players who step onto the podium at the day’s end will take their place in Olympic history as rugby’s first medal winners of the 21st century, and some of them no doubt will be hoping to repeat the feat when the sport begins an exciting new Olympic era at Rio 2016. [with thanks to IOC website]
1 September 1956
The All Blacks win in Auckland, thus taking its first ever test series v South Africa - at last!
On a dramatic day at Eden Park NZ wins 11-5 and takes the 4-test series by 3-1. Peter Jones scored a try and made a great radio speech. He was 'buggered,' he said!
Auckland and New Zealand
6 internationals for New Zealand 1903–06
The captain of the first All Blacks team in 1905–06 and a controversial player in the eyes of some British writers of the time. Gallaher (originally spelled Gallagher) was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and brought to New Zealand by his parents as a young boy.
He served in the Boer War for the Sixth Contingent from New Zealand.
Because of the absence of international fixtures and Gallaher’s period of military service, he did not play his first test match until he was 28. Originally a hooker, he later became a ‘rover’ or wing forward, the position New Zealand created by packing down only seven men in each scrum.
Gallaher’s play in the wing forward position earned him enormous criticism while on tour in Britain in 1905–06. There were those who labeled him unsporting, and even a cheat. His wing forward style of waiting off scrums, mauls and rucks, either to defend attacks on his own halfback or disrupt the opposition’s man, was not at all appreciated by opposition teams, who had no apparent counter. Several referees penalised him heavily.
As a leader Gallaher was brilliant. He was the first rugby captain to ‘psyche’ his team up. On match days he would ask each man to spend an hour on his own to ‘rest and contemplate the game ahead’. He insisted his team be totally disciplined and pay attention to detail, both on and off the field, much in the manner of professional teams of today.
The 1905 New Zealand team was the first team to use liniment as a playing aid, and to chew gum (not at all advisable these days). It had code names for team moves, and used extra men in back moves, skip passes, decoys and other ruses not before seen in Britain. All of these innovations were devised and encouraged by Gallaher. His team, growing to believe totally in his leadership style, soon built up a formidable record. Only the controversial loss to Wales prevented the All Blacks from having an unbeaten tour record from 35 games.
Gallaher retired at the conclusion of the tour and became a provincial and, later, All Black selector. Tragically he lost his life in Belgium in 1917, during World War I.
Since 1922 the senior club championship in Auckland has been played for the Gallaher Shield, in commemoration of one of its greatest rugby sons. In 2011 a statue of him was unveiled at Auckland's rugby headquarters at Eden Park.
Which nation came third in the 1987 Rugby World Cup played in New Zealand?