Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
17 October 2016
In the 1950s and 60s when a South African rugby team left home for a major overseas tour they always carried with them a splendidly mounted Springbok trophy head. The trophy would be presented to the first team that beat the South Africans on any trip.
In 1965 a confident Springbok team arrived in Wellington for just the second tour game, of a 24-match itinerary. Buoyed by a 32-3 win in their first game at Gisborne against Poverty Bay-East Coast they then ran into a powerhouse Wellington team. Though it was only 1-try each the final score favoured the home team by 23-6. So the Springbok head was duly handed over to the Wellington captain Ken Gray.
Such moments are not forgotten, nor are the trophies hidden away to gather dust. In 2016 at the Wellington Rugby Union's 'Old Timer's Day' 51 years after the epic victory, two of the senior players wanted to record their presence with the trophy one more time. Here are Gary Hermansson and Neven MacEwan, the number eight forward and lock forward respectively from the Wellington team
To this writer's eye not one of the three 'people' in this photo have aged a jot!
Andy Haden and Frank Oliver conjured up a lineout dive v Wales in Cardiff to fool the ref into giving NZ a penalty; that later led to a 13-12 AB win.
Guy’s Hospital and England
1 international for England 1906
Arnold Alcock was a ‘one cap wonder’ whose one game for his country came about in rather unusual circumstances.
Alcock was a useful enough club player for Guy’s Hospital who, it is insisted, never had aspirations at all of becoming an international. Imagine his surprise when he received in the mail an ofﬁcial invitation to play for his country against the touring 1906–07 Springbok team.
Alcock was initially shocked but then felt honoured and on the great day of the game he duly turned up at Twickenham all set to play. Upon seeing him, the secretary of the Rugby Union realised that the man before him was not the man the selectors had thought they were getting. Apparently they had chosen L.A.N. Slocock of Liverpool, and only by a typing error did Alcock receive his invitation to play. By then, of course, it was too late to summon Slocock from the north, so Alcock took the ﬁeld for England. By all accounts he played sensibly and tolerably well. However, it was not a major surprise when Alcock was not invited to play for England again. Slocock was. In fact, Slocock went on to play the next eight internationals.
Arnold Alcock later had a distinguished association with the Gloucester club, for which he was president for nearly 50 years.
Which prominent All Black back didn't play a test till after his 30th birthday?