Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
1 June 2014
This is an example of never giving up in sports;
In 1980 after a full decade of trying - and 16 straight defeats of him by the great Jimmy Connors - Vitas Gerulaitis finally beat Connors, who was his friend and rival. The match was at Madison Square Garden, New York, and was a 5-set thriller.
The triumphant Vitas sauntered into his aftermatch press conference and began by wagging his finger at the gathered media. "Now you listen you people," he said urgently,"let that be a lesson to you all. Nobody - but nobody - beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row!"
James 'Buster' Barrett, in his time the lightest AB forward, went to WWI in 1915 with the Auckland Mounted Rifles division. His horse was trained for war while away but never saw any action and never returned.
The famous New Zealand radio commentator who revolutionised the way rugby commentary was done all over the world.
The Wellington born McCarthy had essentially an outward personality; he loved talking, and he had had time on stage as a lad in the early 1930s in New Zealand. It followed then that he was not phased by nerves when he became a rugby commentator. He broadcast his games with a style so different from the conservative way callers had been first commentated the game in Britain. McCarthy was loud and brazen not afraid to raise his voice and ‘let go’ on the air.
When he was sent by the New Zealand Government to broadcast the 1945-46 Kiwi Army rugby of Britain back to New Zealand his style fascinated the conformist BBC. They took his broadcasts and put them on their stations. They were amazed that he could engender so much excitement. The BBC wanted him to stay on. Instead McCarthy came back to New Zealand, but his style lingered in Britain. Gone were the stuffy, some might say plum-in-the-mouth callers and encouraged was the McCarthy style. The great Scottish TV commentator, Bill McLaren, recalls how, as a young fledgling radio man, he was sent by the BBC to Cardiff in 1954 to stand behind McCarthy and watch ‘how’ he broadcast a game.
Because of the high peaks of emotion surrounding the 1956 Springbok tour of New Zealand Winston’s words of description and catchphrases became the catchphrases of the New Zealand nation. His most famous call was ‘listen….it’s a goal!’ when a shot at goal was taken. He would allow the cheering of the crowd to tell the radio audience first whether a kick was on target or not.
In his time, in the 1940s and ‘50s Winston McCarthy became one of the best-known New Zealanders. He became the eyes and ears of New Zealand’s voracious appetite for listening to their All Black team on tour. It was commonly said around the country that if the All Black selectors of the time could not see every game being played each week they were influenced in their selection of test teams by what McCarthy had said on the air. His words weighed that heavily.
Which nation came third in the 1987 Rugby World Cup played in New Zealand?