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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.
This time it was in Delhi, India. New Zealand under captain D.J.Forbes and coach Gordon Tietjens beat Australia 24-17 in a thrilling final.
Royal Air Force, Leicester and England
85 internationals for England 1984–96
6 internationals for British Isles 1989-93
Leicester, Newcastle and England
27 internationals for England 1992-98
1 international for British Lions 1997
Two dashing brothers who were regular wingers in England’s selections in the 1980s and 90s.
Dealing first with Rory, who was the elder by nearly six years. He was a dashing wing, as befitted his occupation as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force. At the end of his career he had played 85 internationals for England, a record total till beaten by Jason Leonard. His total of test tries scored was also an England record, with 49 scored (plus one in a Lions test) boosting his final total to 50. This placed him second on the all-time test try-scoring record, behind David Campese’s 64 tries. Ironically his final tally of test tries came during a time when England was in a period of playing mostly ten-man rugby. Rory Underwood gained a reputation for being underused on occasions but having a rare talent for scoring tries when the ball did come his way.
Rory was born in Middlesbrough and Tony in Ipoh, Malaysia, the brothers were of part-Chinese origins, a rugby rarity in itself, and they spent some of their childhood in Malaysia. Rory’s first cap was against Ireland in 1984. Most of his caps were won on the left wing, but he could play more than competently on the right side (his English record-equaling total of five tries against Fiji at Twickenham in 1989 came when he was playing on the right wing side).
Rory’s Air Force commitments meant he missed several England tours, which meant his test match tally could have been even higher. This popular and dynamic England star was a member of the England team which contested the three Rugby World Cups, in 1987, 1991 and 1995; he played in three Grand Slam-winning England seasons, plus four Five Nations titles. He played in the 1991 World Cup final at Twickenham after scoring four tries in the lead-up games. He also toured with the British Isles to Australia in 1989 and to New Zealand in 1993.
Tony Underwood first came to the fore in 1989 when he appeared for Barbarians Club against the touring All Blacks at Twickenham. He made the England team for a tour to Argentina the following year but did not play an actual test until late in 1992. As his brother Rory was on the other wing (v Canada at Wembley) they became the first pair of brothers to play in an England team since Arthur and Harold Wheatley in 1938.
The forte of Tony’s game was blistering acceleration and a huge confidence to use it well. He toured New Zealand, with his brother in the 1993 British Lions and the two also shared England’s Grand Slam win in 1995. Tony had a second Lions tour, to South Africa in 1997.
At the 1995 World Cup in South Africa Tony had the extremely unenviable task of marking a rampant Jonah Lomu of New Zealand in one of the semi-finals games. Sadly, for England’s hopes at that tournament, and the memory of Tony Underwood as an international player, the video of him being repeatedly trampled underfoot or run around by the giant-sized Lomu, as he went on to score four tries, has been played over and over again. Tony deserved better than this. At his best he was a top player capable of many good things on the field, and like his brother, one of the best wingers England has ever produced.
Who captained the British and Irish Lions on tour to New Zealand in 1977?