Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
6 May 2015
One of the key reasons for my tour to Europe and North America this year was to visit and pay homage to World War I battlefields and to the rugbymen who died there. We did that for sure, but not before meeting our guide and having lunch at a very appropriate place for New Zealand war watchers in Belgium.
The name Passchendaele means so much to New Zealanders in its WWI war history. It is a sleepy little town these days but back 100 years ago the village was the scene of some of the fiercest and bloodiest battles fought by the New Zealand soldiers against the Germans. The little cafe in this photo was doing a steady trade when we visited. On its walls was appropriate memorabilia for sale.
You will also notice I was nicely decked out in a New Zealand 'Flanders Field MMXV' shirt. Designed and produced by 'Mr Robyn of Dollar.'
'Oh oh!' He scored 4 tries in Cape Town as NZ made the 3rd Rugby World Cup final. Beating England 45-29.
A term given to the rugby world by Argentina. Bajada (also known as bajadita) is the name given to the style of pushing in a scrum where the hooker keeps his feet back and the scrum pushes forward using the thrust of all eight men. While that in itself was not a new technique, Argentine teams, at both club and national level, shocked the rugby world with secret variations of the eight-man shove in the early 1970s.
The results were often astounding. South African players and officials were perhaps the first outsiders to feel the power of bajada when the Buenos Aires club, San Isidro, took the technique to South Africa in 1973. The locals there were shocked to find their teams, with all of South Africa’s history of powerful scrummaging, frequently pushed into a backslide.
Recent law changes have tended to deflate the power of the scrum, but the legacy of powerful scrimmaging remains with Argentine rugby today. The term ‘bajada’ (meaning ‘downhill’) deserves to be remembered.
Why was the France v Ireland match of 1913 played in the morning in Cork?