Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
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From my travels I have collected many photos; had them sent to me or saved them, because, well, behind most of them there is a good story!
9 June 2014
The 1965 South African fullback Lionel Wilson sent this picture to KeithQuiinnRugby.com some years ago. It is from his private collection of memorabilia and shows how he looked after being involved in a fearful collision during the South Africa v Canterbury game. He recovered from the black eye and played a test match a week later! Wilson came to New Zealand to live permanently in the years after the tour. Read more »
8 June 2014
The mighty Colin Meads of King Country New Zealand, who was the symbol of everything that was tough about rugby in the 1960s and '70s. Here he is with his upper body covered in plaster playing with his young son. Weeks earlier near his farm Meads had suffered a broken back after a motor vehicle crash. A matter of months later he had recovered sufficiently to play full international games again, though his All Black days were over. Read more »
3 June 2014
Some people journey to Jerusalem or Mecca or other Holy places. Here is Keith Quinn at his personal 'place of pilgrimage'; at the grave of William Webb Ellis at Menton, Southern France. It serene place where one can reflect whether the man buried there really did start the game of rugby in 1823. Read more »
1 June 2014
In the 1950s when the big test matches were played it was common for air planes to fly over the grounds dragging advertising slogans. This gave the opportunity for wonderful photographs to be taken. This one was taken in 1959 when officially it was 57,000 people attended the All Blacks v British Lions in Christchurch. Note the packed crowd on the embankment (right hand side) but seated fans on the ground in front of the bank. Read more »
The second 'Barbed Wire' test match of 1981; and South Africa fights back.
The dramatic test at Athletic Park has SA winning 24-12. More protests in the Wellington Streets but the three-test series is set up at one-all.
You cannot have a rugby match without a ball. According to legend, the ball that William Webb Ellis picked up and ran with at Rugby School in 1823 was similar in shape to the oval ball of today. Why Rugby School played with an oval football before running with it in one’s hands was allowed is a mystery, but the evidence is that balls of that shape were used for many years before Webb Ellis attended the school.
It could be that different forms of football were traditionally played with a pig’s bladder as the ball. Any good pig-hunter will tell you that a pig’s bladder, when inflated, is basically oval in shape. When, by 1840, leather covers were made for the bladders, they were fitted to that shape. Thus today’s rugby ball is a direct throwback to the pig’s bladder balls that were kicked around the playing fields of Rugby School early in the nineteenth century. The ‘feet only’ game of association football adopted the round ball on its own.
For years South African rugby favoured using an eight-paneled leather ball, as distinct from the standard four panels used elsewhere. In 1961 it joined the rest of the world in adopting the four-panel ball.
The first rubber bladders were made in 1870. Another significant change to the rugby ball came in 1931 when the rather squat shape of the early ball, which made for easier place-kicking and drop-kicking, was replaced by a narrower, more torpedo-like shape that is able to be passed more easily. The length was shortened by one and a half inches (35mm). A lace to hold the inner bladder together used to be found on every ball, but is now missing from the modern ball.
The main other differences that exist in the modern ball are that they are made out of synthetic rubber and have thousands of raised lumps on their surface. All are designed to give greater grip for the players’ handling. Whether they do aid catching and dispatching in a pass is the subject of endless debate among rugby watchers.
Also used on every ball are various brand names, as companies vie to have their ball used in major televised fixtures and therefore expand brand exposure and sales.
Who was the first All Black captain to be red or yellow carded in a test match?