Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
Bay of Plenty sevens expert Gordon Tietjens takes his first NZ team to Fiji. They didn't win the tournament there but Tietjens stayed coach for 20-plus years
Wellington and New Zealand
A tough New Zealand utility back in the years before international matches were played, Davey Gage performed an astonishing feat of endurance on the 1888–89 New Zealand Natives world tour when he played in 68 of 74 matches in Britain – twice as many as some of his fellow team members. He was nicknamed ‘Pony’ because of his small size but enormous work-rate on that tour. In all games on tour (counting games in Australia and New Zealand) he appeared 82 times.
Gage toured Australia with the New Zealand team of 1893 and was captain of his country against Queensland at Wellington in 1896. None of the matches played was considered a ‘test’ match.
Gage is remembered for another role during the Natives tour. The team adopted ‘On The Ball’ as its team song and he gained a reputation all over Britain as being the player who would stand up, climb on a table and lead its singing. The song, written in New Zealand, became a hit all across the country and is a rugby song that has endured ever since.
What age was Gareth Edwards when he became the world’s youngest test captain?