What Would Today's Players Think of This?

What Would Today's Players Think of This?

4 December 2014

Close your eyes and think of the green lawns of Twickenham, or Eden Park, or Ellis Park - or anywhere in modern times where test rugby is played. You would NEVER see mud like this. All you see these days is serried lines of mown greenery.

But this picture shows the conditions where so many famous rugby games up until perhaps the 1970s or 80s were played in. If it rained regularly grounds became 'heavy' but tour matches still went ahead. Teams learned to play 'wet weather rugby' or 'mud bath rugby.'

This picture was taken at Rugby Park in Whangarei in 1956 when the touring Springboks played North Auckland. The game was a critical one; South Africa had lost to Waikato in their first tour game  just four days earlier so having a second loss would have been a disaster for their tour hopes.

South Africa beat the Northerners by just 3-0 in probably the worst conditions ever seen in a major match in New Zealand. The ground is now part of Whangarei Boys High School and is in much better shape these days.

Thank goodness for the advancement in understanding turf culture!

[And who is the injured player in the picture from that far off dramatic day?

Your guess is as good as mine.]

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