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!"
The great Colin Meads plays his last game for his country on this day.
His career as an All Black had lasted 15 seasons inclusive 1957-71. It ended leading NZ to a 14-14 draw again the British and Irish Lions at Eden Park.
Racing Club de France, Chalon and France
43 internationals for France 1953–61
A stylish French fullback who became that country’s most-capped last line of defence, Michel Vannier was a gifted runner who was also blessed with a calm assurance. He played in three French teams which won the Five Nations Championship and was a member of the great French team which went to South Africa in 1958 and won the test series.
Vannier first came into the French international side in 1953 against Wales, in Paris. He had an unhappy day but held his place for the internationals of the next season. He steadily built up his tally of caps over the next five seasons. He was an excellent goal-kicker and had a sure touch with a drop-kick. In the end he totaled 175 points in international matches.
Vannier was most unfortunate that a serious knee injury forced him to miss the tests in South Africa in 1958. He missed all of 1959’s international matches but was back in 1960, a comeback that was highly acclaimed and popular with the rugby followers of France.
His last international was in Australia at the end of the French tour there and to New Zealand in 1961. His form on tour had not been as impressive as before, but his total of caps won had reached 43. The mark stood as a French record until the great Serge Blanco passed it in 1987.
How many Wanganui club players were in the combined King Country-Wanganui team which beat the 1966 British Lions team in Wanganui?