Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
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'US President Gerald Ford's golf was so bad we thought he was a 'Hitman for the PGA!'
'An optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist sees the whole.'
'The other man's arse is always cleaner!'
'You've got to get your first tackle in early, even if it's late!'
'No doubt about it, in my career Ron Lyle hit me the hardest. One time he hit me so hard I didn't see it until I saw it on film when I woke up!'
'I have found in my time moving around sports grounds - that the knowledge of the game from the crowd is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats.'
'I never stole nuttin' unless it began with an 'A' - A truck, a car, a payroll...!'
'Rugby is three things; its ballet, opera and bloody murder!'
From American motivational speaker Paul J.Meyer; 'Whatever you vividly imagine; Ardently desire; Sincerely believe in and Enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.'
'I always try to remember that praise and a slap on your back is only 6 inches away from a kick up the arse!'
'God somehow makes sure that in international rugby nobody wins ALL the time!'
'To prepare for a really big match you don't have to be in a good mood, or even a bad mood...you just have to be in the right mood!'
The ABs win in the Wellington wind v France!
Ships couldn't berth on this fierce stormy day but the test went ahead anyway. NZ won 5-3 and hundreds of hats and scarves disappeared forever!
Hawke’s Bay, East Coast and New Zealand
9 internationals for New Zealand 1924–30
A legendary figure in a legendary team, the 1924 ‘Invincible’ All Blacks. Only 19 at the time, George Nepia played all 38 matches during that gruelling tour of Australia, Britain, Ireland, France and Canada.
British sides were unstinting in their praise of Nepia, the rock on whom so many of their attacks foundered. His courage under the high ball and in repelling foot rushes, the crunching certainty of his tackling and the strength of his spiraled line kicking – all of these combined to restrict opposition teams to no more than 180 points against the All Blacks in the 38 games.
Nepia could also run with the ball. He had started his first-class career as a wing, then a five-eighth, before outstanding fullback displays in 1924 resulted in his being chosen as the only last line of defence. Early in the tour of Britain he made a sizzling run, but the dictatorial Mark Nicholls told him to leave the running to his five-eighths and three-quarters: his job was to defend. It was not until the 37th match of the tour, in Canada, that Nepia scored his first try!
A bogus telegram which advised the selectors of Nepia’s ‘unavailability’ cost him a place with the New Zealand Maoris’ trend-setting tour to Britain in 1927, and his All Black career finished after the 1930 home series against the British Isles. After a temporary retirement, Nepia returned to bid for a place with the 1935–36 All Blacks to tour Britain but was surprisingly not selected, though then playing as well as at any time of his career.
With his financial security in tatters at the end of the Depression, Nepia readily accepted the lure of rugby league money and played two seasons in England, and then for New Zealand. Reinstated to rugby in what was then called the ‘war-time amnesty’ which allowed rugby league professionals to return without recrimination to the amateur rugby union, Nepia played for East Coast in 1947, and in 1950 captained the Olympians club in a first-class fixture against Poverty Bay. George Nepia, father and son, were the fullbacks and captains on this historic day, George senior being 45 years old at the time.
He became an active referee and many spectators went to games just to watch Nepia referee, rather than see the two teams doing battle.
Which prominent All Black back didn't play a test till after his 30th birthday?