Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
4 January 2016
What a haka classic this is! This one from the little-known but very significant New Zealand Maori team's world tour (with games mainly in France) back in 1926-27. Back then French rugby was very much in the doldrums. The national team hadn't won a game for years in the Five Nations Championship. But the 'Maori rugby' style of fast, open back play changed attitudes right across the south west proved very popular - and soon it was adopted to French way.
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.
After an unauthorised tour to South Africa in 1986 by senior All Blacks (the ‘Cavaliers’), players who toured were banned for two test matches. The New Zealand selectors therefore had to cast further afield for a team to play a test against France in Christchurch and in a following game against Australia at Wellington. They opted in choosing from younger or second-string players who were active around New Zealand.
The relative youth and inexperience of the new team soon earned it the affectionate nickname ‘Baby All Blacks’. The team’s popularity was ensured when it beat France, 18–9 and lost narrowly, 12–13, to Australia.
The Baby Blacks included a number of players who were to become seasoned All Blacks: David Kirk was their captain, while Joe Stanley, Sean Fitzpatrick, John Kirwan, Frano Botica, Terry Wright, Mike Brewer and Andy Earl all represented New Zealand for years.
Who captained the British and Irish Lions on tour to New Zealand in 1977?