Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
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'The greatest thing that can happen to the state of Queensland and the nation of Australia would be if and when we get rid of the media. Then we would live in peace and tranquility - but no one would know anything!.'
From the Scottish rugby star of the 1920s; 'It doesn't matter in any game of rugby how many points the opposition scores, as long as we score more!'
'Young men have visions, old men have dreams.'
'Scientists now say there are two things you can see from outer space; the Great Wall of China and the holes in the Scottish rugby team's backline defence.'
When rugby teams still gather in a huddle at halfway after they have run onto the field usually someone in the team can be seen talking away. But really, once you're on the field there's actually nothing left to say. You just have to get on with it!"
When the new young golf star Jordan Spieth, in the 2014 Masters Golf tournament, had played fearlessly throughout, showing no nerves, Weekley said; "That kid ain't got no bills to pay, he ain't got no kids; When you're that young to him it's only all about the sport he's playing. You don't have to worry about nuthin' else!"
Seen regularly on Japanese supporters shirts in Australia during the 1987 Rugby World Cup; 'If you ain't got no guts, you don't get no glory!'
From the renowned American gonzo journalist Hunter S.Thompson: "Sportswriters are a rude and brainless subculture of fascist drunks,'
'The (bronze) medal I won is fine, but it is only a souvenir. It's what you learn from the Olympics that is most important.'
"It's 45 minutes after the game right now and I still don't want to take this jersey off. That's because I know that when I do it'll be for the last time..."
Brian O'Driscoll, the Irish and British Lions centre three-quarter - reacting philosophically for the media after his 140th, and last, game of international rugby, in Paris 16th March 2014.
(Before his 1984 Wallaby team played their last international heading towards winning a Grand Slam in Great Britain): 'In life there are four things which don't come back; a speeding arrow, the spoken word, time, and a neglected opportunity.'
'Of the five most useless things there are in the world; three of them would be the cheers we do for the ref at the end of any game!'
Spoken with his strong north of England accent; 'On the field you gives it, you takes it, and yer doon't fookin' groomble!'
When speaking about his time as an international rugby player: 'In my country (Belgium), if you sit beside the phone long enough, it will ring and you will be invited to play rugby for Belgium!'
'Time is of the essence,
The crowd and players
Are the same age always,
But the man in the stand,
Is older every season.'
And there's a many a Kiwi who has rung him on this day in the years since - after he grew to be one of our greatest All Blacks.
For many years the record for the largest crowd to watch a rugby international was the 95,000 that packed into the old Ellis Park ground in Johannesburg in 1955 to watch the ﬁrst test between South Africa and the British Isles. There were also 95,000 present in Bucharest in May 1957 to see France play Romania, although it should be mentioned that the game was actually played as a curtain raiser to a major soccer match!
A record was thought to have been set at Murrayﬁeld in Edinburgh in 1975, when it was reported that a crowd of 104,000 watched the Wales v Scotland international. However, in the end the ofﬁcial attendance was listed as 80,000.
The biggest total of people to watch a test match in New Zealand is the 61,240 who attended Eden Park in Auckland for the fourth test between New Zealand and South Africa in 1956.
For decades the record attendance for a test match in Australia was the 48,898 who came to see New Zealand play Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the third test of 1980. That total was impressive enough considering the lesser place rugby held in the hearts of the Australian sporting public at the time. However being twice world champions in the 1990s helped the upsurge in popularity of rugby union. Coinciding with the rise in rugby’s significance came the building of much larger sports arenas, most notably for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games.
The latest record total for crowds at a rugby test in Australia therefore also became the world’s best. At Stadium Australia in Sydney on July 15, 2000 with the Bledisloe Cup at stake the All Blacks and the Wallabies played in front of 109,878 fans. A year before on the same ground 107,042 had watched the same two teams in action.
At the other end of the scale, there have been many times when ofﬁcials have been disappointed with the size of crowds that have turned out to see major rugby matches.
Easily the tiniest crowd to watch a signiﬁcant rugby match would have been the few dozen people who stood about on the sidelines of Owl Creek Polo Ground in Glenville, in upstate New York, for the match between USA and South Africa in 1981.
To avoid anti-apartheid protesters and prying news media, the two teams traveled in secret to a destination which only a few ofﬁcials knew about. They also had quietly scheduled the match to begin 24 hours ahead of its planned playing time, and goal-posts were only erected (by the players of both teams) ﬁve minutes before kick-off. When the teams ran on to the sloping, muddy and manure-smelling ﬁeld, 60 state police leapt from unmarked cars to guard the event, but they cannot be claimed as boosters to the total attendance ﬁgure of 25!
Had there been a scoreboard at the ground it would have shown a ﬁnal score of South Africa 38, USA 7. Perhaps this was the only international where there were more points scored than people attending.
One of the South African players in the game, Thys Burger, claims some sort of world record. He says he helped put up the posts; when the game started he acted as touch judge for a time, then he came on to play as a substitute and finished his day by scoring a try between them!
Why was the France v Ireland match of 1913 played in the morning in Cork?