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 grand old Wellington ground had to go but NZ said goodbye in great style beating France 54-7.
Swansea and Wales
33 internationals for Wales 1890–1901
One of Wales’s first rugby heroes, W.J. (‘Billy’) Bancroft was a brilliant fullback. He was a master at punting and scoring points from place - or drop kicks, and was an elusive runner. He played all his club football for Swansea, where he was idolised as one of its most famous sons.
In a statistical sense he is remembered as the first player to drop kick a penalty goal in an international, v England at Cardiff in 1893, Wales’s first home win over England.
Bancroft played his 33 internationals consecutively – a feat made even more impressive when it is remembered that he did not play against France or teams from New Zealand, Australia or South Africa and had the possibility of only three internationals per year.
Billy Bancroft was small in stature – only 5ft 5in (1.65 m) tall. His brother Jack was also a Welsh international fullback, playing 18 internationals between 1909 and 1914.
Who captained the British and Irish Lions on tour to New Zealand in 1977?