Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
10 June 2015
My story on the late Jerry Collins having to front for a TV interview straight after an All Blacks World Cup defeat in 2003 has been picked up and run on the New Zealand Herald. As a result of that the All Blacks media manager from that New Zealand team has sent his version of events. I thank Matt McIlraith and publish his comments.
"As the All Black media manager of the time as referred to by Keith, I remember the said incident well.
"There had been huge issues through that RWC about the All Black coach refusing to do the immediate post-game TV interviews but it wasn't within the existing tournament rules of the time, so he was within his rights to refuse, albeit as unwise as this course of action was.
"The rule was changed after 2003. In this instance, when John refused, Jerry, who was in ear shot of his rather terse reply within the dressing room, jumped up and said he would do it.
"A number of the players did this throughout that year when the head coach refused to do things, this was certainly not the only time, but it did reflect well on the leadership skills Jerry already had, and the fact that he cared, while perhaps reflecting less well on the head coach, although each individual will draw their own opinion on that.
"As Keith recalled, John did front the formal post game press conference. The women Keith referred to that Jerry went and saw after were his mother and another family member (I think his sister), whom had religiously waited for him outside after each of the games at that tournament.
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.
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.
Who played ten tests for the All Blacks - but only in NZ?