Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
14 September 2016
This message below is from John Lea of the Association of New Zealand Rugby Historians and Statisticians; A message to all followers of New Zealand rugby;
I hope wherever you are in the rugby world you might be interested in this phenomenal publication from Clive Akers, the Editor of the Rugby Almanack of New Zealand. I have personally found this new book fascinating and a fantastic reference for many queries and research topics! It is called;
New Zealand Rugby Register : The Players, Referees and Administrators in First-Class Rugby 1870-2015
It is the most extensive career record on players and referees in first-class rugby over the past 145 years.
For the first time, the New Zealand Rugby Register provides an alphabetical list of every provincial representative (men and women) since the game was introduced to New Zealanders in 1870.
820 pages containing approximately 40,000 names including NZ Sevens, NZ Age Grade, and NZ Schools representatives as well as prominent coaches, administrators, and rugby media.
A reference book for provincial union staff, journalists, media, rugby enthusiasts and genealogists.
A 35-year project compiled by Rugby Almanack co-editor Clive Akers.
Available only from NZ Rugby Museum, PO Box 36, Palmerston North 4440. firstname.lastname@example.org
Price: $195.00 including postage within New Zealand.
Review by LINDSAY KNIGHT
In all of New Zealand rugby there has never been a book quite like that which has been produced by long-serving Rugby Almanack co-editor and Rugby Museum chairman, Clive Akers. In his New Zealand Rugby Register Akers has recorded the names and biographical details of every player and referee and some of the administrators and coaches who have been involved from 1870 up until 2015 in New Zealand first-class games. He hasn’t stopped there and has also covered national sevens, age-group and secondary school representatives and prominent members of the media. It all amounts to more than 800 A4 pages, bound in a hard cover, which is a reflection of the staggering amount of research which Akers has devoted over many years to the project. Clearly while it is the most phenomenal reference book this writer has encountered in any sport, let alone rugby, the Register is not bed-time reading and is not going to be a best-seller. That obviously was not Akers’ intention. But it will be of immeasurable benefit to any family proud of a relative’s deeds, historians, statisticians and any media hack who has been assigned the task of compiling an obituary on any old All Black or rugby personality when they have passed away. Because it has inevitably involved mind-boggling research and covers such a comprehensive subject, one cannot vouch for the Register being 100% accurate. And if there have been mistakes or omissions then they would have to be regarded as understandable. But from a reasonably good knowledge of New Zealand rugby at many levels over the past 50 years or more I can find precious few and have found confirmation of one or two claims which have been made to me personally.
I now know that a fellow bowls club member, one Andrew Tait, had a first-class game for Golden Bay-Motueka in 1965 and a couple of media people of recent years, The Dominion-Post’s Toby Robson and Sky Television’s Grant Nisbett, appeared briefly in first-class rugby. Robson twice played for a Wellington XV in 2002 and Nisbett for a Wellington colts side against Horowhenua in a Queen’s Birthday match in 1969 when on the same day the A team played Manawatu and the Bs played Marlborough. The historically and politically minded will be equally fascinated to learn two Prime Ministers played first-class rugby, Keith Holyoake with Golden-Bay Motueka in the 1920s and before the turn of the 20th century George Forbes, the country’s hapless leader in the 1930s, for Canterbury. Another celebrated politician, from the Richard Seddon era, to have also played representative rugby was William Pember Reeves. You will also find that the famous soldier and former Governor-General, Bernard Freyberg, was a useful player with three games for Horowhenua, that Tem, the father of the entertainer Howard Morrison, played for Waikato and New Zealand Maori and that John Devoy, father of the squash champion Susan, in the 1940s was a midfield back for Wanganui and Hawke’s Bay. Or that the great lawn bowler Peter Belliss, before winning his world titles, was a Wanganui representative forward, continuing a family tradition which started with his grand-dad, Moke, a dynamic All Black wing forward in the early 1920s. Many of us no doubt have been assured, either by the person himself or his relatives, that so and so represented Auckland, Canterbury or Otago. That can be confirmed by the Register. Or it can be disproved for there are many who confuse playing for a province at schoolboy and junior levels with the elite few who were representatives at the approved first-class level.
One might have to be a history or statistical buff to fully enjoy Akers’ monumental work. But it’s an important contribution to the archiving of New Zealand rugby and it’s something for which Akers deserves both gratitude and unqualified congratulations.
Director New Zealand Rugby Museum
+64 6 358 6947 or 027 239 0050
NZ had to go to Brisbane for this Sunday game; the ABs scored 8 tries to 1! Winning the first World Cup was now only a week away!
Fylde and England
34 internationals for England 1975–82
7 internationals for British Isles 1977–80
William Blackledge Beaumont was just a lad of 11 when England won the Five Nations championship in 1963. When England next won the championship in March 1980, Beaumont was six days past his 28th birthday and was captain of the team. It was England’s first Grand Slam for 23 years, and it ensured Beaumont a prominent niche in that country’s rugby history.
In the 1970s a depression hung over English rugby – five times in that decade it had finished last in the Five Nations championship. The first signs of resurgence came when Beaumont, who had been a lower grade fullback at his club eight years before and an England lock for four years, led the Northern Division of England to victory over the 1979 All Blacks. His quiet style and unassuming manner belied a determination to succeed on the field. These qualities were somehow transferred to the England team of 1980.
In 1980, Beaumont led the British Isles to South Africa, a controversial tour accompanied by anti-apartheid protests in many parts of the world.
He played well and off the field behaved with quiet dignity. Sadly, his Lions team was not able to win for him another notable victory, going down 1–3 in the series.
Beaumont was a lock who had deceptive pace around the field and excellent ball skills. He was a front-of-the-lineout jumper and his strength at scrum time was a grand help to many an English international effort.
His playing career came to an abrupt end. In the 1982 English county final he complained about a head injury, which had affected him in several previous games, and left the field. Beaumont took medical advice and quit the game, right at the peak of his powers. He was only 29 years old.
There was great sadness in English rugby circles, but the ever-cheerful Beaumont carried on, making a name for himself as a TV commentator, then as a TV sports quiz panelist. He was awarded the OBE in 1982 and a CBE in 2008. He also became a rugby administrator, being England’s delegate to the IRB and in 2002 being voted onto the IRB Executive Committee. He has held that position since.
In 2012 he was elected Chairman of The Rugby Football Union (England).
From 2007 the winning team playing in the English County Championship is awarded the Bill Beaumont Cup.
What caused confusion for the TV reporters when the All Blacks 1987 Rugby World Cup team was announced on live TV in Whangarei, New Zealand?