Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
25 November 2017
From time to time there are those rugby fans who nostalgically reflect on their time in the game; and they do it by the magic of poetry. You will find some memorable efforts on this website. This latest one comes from James Simpson of New Zealand who clearly remembers with enormous affection his days of playing in the hooking position - and his enormous respect for others who did so too.
The Ace In The Pack
He hangs between two henchmen all Cauliflower ears,
Knuckles and boots their stock-in-trade
Their most sociable act is sculling their beers
No lovers of high debate
For free thought is something found in the North
No need for it way down here
Our traditions and rituals rule the way we go forth
We act without fancy or fear
No video ref nor rulings from touch
We fix faults off our own bat
Our answer to those who doth protesteth too much
Is to 'Take that and that and that.'
Some say a fine mind marks a man out
For life as a great physician
But a fine mind will only cause doubt
When playing the hookers position
Diagnostic skills the pundits go on
Are traits more fitting a back
But those in the know in the front row club
Say such powers are much prized in the pack
Tho’ strong arms and thick skulls when put to the test
Are assets that front rowers like
And tho’ he had them as well we’ll remember him best
For the snakelike speed of his strike
And we’ll also remember in years to come
Like Anzacs from warfare and strife
The attitudes forged in the heat of the scrum
Will last you the rest of your life.
Wellington, New Zealand
Wales 13 NZ 8 in Cardiff; Their first win over the All Blacks for 50 years. But as of 2014 they had never beaten NZ again in over 50 more years!
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 international rugby player who went to two Rugby World Cups also won two Olympic Games Gold Medals and 2 World Championship bronze medals in a chosen 'other' sport?