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You are here: Home » To New Zealand Radio and TV Commentator John McBeth
This Ten Questions idea is to ask a leading rugby personality; either a player, from the the media or an administrator some questions which may prompt a response from them which we might not have heard of before;
John McBeth has been a work colleague of mine for over three decades. Like me he began in radio and later switched TV. He 'came over' to TV in 1992 (Actually he replaced me as TVNZ's rugby commentator. And several years later the bosses decreed I should replace him!) The swings and arrows of the broadcasting bosses' decision making has not swayed the two of us from having a close and firm friendship. We are very good mates. The parallel lines of our careers even went so far as to both being made redundant from TVNZ on the same day! (August 17, 2007!)
We then set out to be 'freelance' reporters and have had many a fun time together. Perhaps the most memorable was the 10 days we spent together on holiday in Scotland between the Athens Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2004. John drove the whole way - I navigated and selected the music to play in the car - and our mateship survived! John lives in Wellington with his wife Rae.
All Black TERRY LINEEN, test cricketer BERT SUTCLIFFE and the world champion middle-distance runner PETER SNELL
NO, BUT IF FORCED TO ANSWER I WOULD PICK SEVERAL PLACES IN FRANCE. I LOVE THAT PLACE!
I KNOW I HAVE A RELUCTANCE TO DECLINE REQUESTS. I CAN’T SEEM TO SAY ‘NO’
SPREADING RUMOUR OR GOSSIP
I FEAR 'USING THE WRONG WORD'. IT'S A BROADCASTING THING I GUESS.
NEVER SWEARING IN A COMMENTARY - OR WAS IT CONVINCING A MASSIVE TV AUDIENCE THAT I KNEW SOMETHING ABOUT YACHTING DURING HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF AMERICA’S CUP COVERAGE.
LET ME EXPLAIN THIS ONE: I WAS TOURING WITH THE FRENCH RUGBY TEAM IN 1989 AS THE NATIONAL RADIO COMMENTATOR. I RECALL THEY WERE NOT A PARTICULARLY POPULAR TEAM WITH THE KIWI MEDIA. WE THOUGHT THEM SLIGHTLY STAND-OFFISH, SOMETIMES RUDE, BUT MAYBE THAT WAS THE LANGUAGE DIFFICULTIES.
AT THE END OF THE BROADCAST OF THEIR THIRD TOUR GAME AGAINST SOUTHLAND IN INVERCARGILL I WAS PACKING UP MY GEAR WHEN I NOTICED TWO POLICEMEN WAITING TO TALK TO ME OUTSIDE THE COMMENTARY BOX.
THEY MET ME AND GRIMLY TOLD ME THAT WHILE I WAS ON THE AIR COMMENTATING, MY BROTHER HAD BEEN KILLED IN A CAR CRASH.
THIS WAS DEVASTATING NEWS OF COURSE.
i WENT BACK TO THE HOTEL STRAIGHT AWAY AND PICKED UP MY LUGGAGE. I HAD DECIDED TO LEAVE AND DRIVE HOME (TO TIMARU WHERE MY PARENTS LIVED).
AS I WAS CHECKING OUT OF THE HOTEL AND STANDING AT THE FRONT DESK THE FRENCH TEAM'S BUS PULLED UP. THEY WERE RETURNING FROM THE GAME TOO.
WHEN THEY CAME IN THE CAPTAIN PIERRE BERBIZIER AND COACH JACQUES FOUROUX IMMEDIATELY CAME UP TO ME. THEY BOTH SOLEMNLY SHOOK MY HAND AND TRIED TO EXPRESS THEIR SYMPATHIES TO ME IN HALTING ENGLISH. OBVIOUSLY THEY HAD HEARD THE NEWS. BERBIZIER THEN LOOSENED HIS PERSONAL FRENCH TEAM TIE AND OFFERED IT TO ME WITH TEARS IN HIS EYES.
TO PUT IT SIMPLY, THAT GESTURE AND THE TIE (AND THE DAY OF COURSE) STILL MOVES ME ALL THESE YEARS LATER. I CONSIDER IT MY MOST PRIZED REMINDER OF HOW GOOD THE BROTHERHOOD OF ALL SPORT CAN BE!
BEING ABLE TO RECALL CLEARLY ALL THE WONDERFUL EVENTS OF MY PAST LIFE AND TRAVELS.
I’M JUST DRAWING UP A BUCKET LIST BUT AM STUCK ON ITEM ONE
MY MOTHER ALWAYS TOLD ME THAT "IF A JOB’S WORTH DOING IT’S WORTH DOING WELL." I’VE STUCK WITH THAT.
20 year old Richie McCaw was the new kid in the team as NZ beat Ireland in Dublin by 40-29
Leicester, Harlequins and England
31 internationals for England 1920–27
William Wavell Wakefield was a highly successful player, thinker, innovator and captain. He became one of the world game’s best administrators, becoming an England committeeman before rising to be president of the Rugby Football Union in 1950. He served as a delegate on the International Rugby Board for the seven years up until 1961 and wrote extensively about the game, in his later years becoming a symbol of wise counsel for amateur rugby and its future.
The young Wavell Wakefield was a supremely fit rugby player, winning his 31 international caps as a flanker, lock or No. 8. He first played for England in 1920, when a strong Welsh side thrashed him and 10 other new caps. The selectors persevered with many of the new players, and out of their rising confidence came one of England’s best eras.
The England team, with Wakefield, the brilliant halfbacks ‘Dave’ Davies and Cyril Kershaw, Cyril Lowe the wing, and forwards Tom Voyce and Ronald Cove-Smith, combined to win the Five Nations crown three times in the first four years of the 1920s.
Wakefield played his first 21 internationals consecutively, winning 17 times with one draw. By 1927, when he was hampered by injuries, the highly popular and respected ‘Wakers’ had reached 31 caps – an England record for any position and one that stood until 1969, when it was passed by D.P. ‘Budge’ Rogers.
Wakefield is often remembered as one of England’s best captains and tactical planners. As captain of Cambridge University and England, he insisted on each member of the forward pack undertaking set roles, rather than plodding together from set piece to set piece, as had been the style.
Under his leadership, England’s back row combinations became the first in the world to work together as a ‘team’, which is commonplace in modern times. Certainly he was highly successful. In his seven seasons in the England team he took part in three championship wins, three Triple Crowns and three Grand Slams. It is a tribute to him that those years came to be known in English rugby as the ‘Wakefield Era’.
After his active rugby days he was a Member of Parliament and then became the first Baron Wakefield of Kendal. He died in 1983.
Piri Weepu played 71 tests for the All Blacks; how many times did he play for the full 80 minutes?