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28 October 2014
According to one great cartoon from over 30 years ago....progress has been slow for USA rugby in their hopes of ever beating the All Blacks. Check this version out here.
When working for TVNZ in 1986 I wrote a book called 'New Zealand Sporting Disasters, Disappointments and Curiosities.' It did quite well and was reprinted six years later. The cartoons in it were the brilliant work of George Martin. I tried to write in a humorous way about some of the 'shockers' New Zealand sport had had over the years. Working upstairs then in the art department at the Avalon TV complex was George Martin, himself a man with a brilliant sports playing pedigree. I commissioned the ideas for the cartoons for the book and George brought them to life superbly.
This one here came when I wrote, as a 'Curiosity' about the All Blacks rugby team playing USA at Berkeley, California in 1913 and winning by 51-3 and then 77 years later the 1980 All Blacks went back to USA to San Diego and beat the Eagles by 53-6. I had kept a clipping from the 'Sports Illustrated' magazine who had sent one of their leading columnists out to see the game.
Dan Levin memorably wrote; 'The final score was All Blacks 53 USA Eagles 6, which was one point closer than the last time the two teams had met in 1913. On the scale of improvement shown by the USA in 1980 the United States can expect to draw a game against New Zealand in the year 5129!'
The quote became George Martin's vision of what the game of rugby might look like thousands of years into the future!
[Note; Since 1980 the All Blacks and USA have met one more time. In 1991 in Gloucester at the 2nd Rugby World Cup New Zealand won by 46-6. You would now perhaps have to do some more serious maths to work out what year it could be now re-calculated that USA would get a draw!]
Oh! Aren't we New Zealand rugby reporters arrogant!
By a 20-point winning margin over France the All Blacks become the first winners of the William Webb Ellis Trophy. A great day for the game worldwide!
Cardiff, Llanelli and Wales
24 internationals for Wales 1901–08
At the age of 12, in 1893, Rhys Gabe walked from his home near Llanelli to watch Wales play Ireland at Stradey Park, a distance of five miles. He and his friends played with a rugby ball all the way there and back, and the game had a profound influence on young Gabe. Thereafter he only wanted to be a centre and based his play on his hero who had played that day, Sam Lee of Ireland.
Gabe made his debut for Wales in 1901 against Ireland at Swansea in a match that marked the last appearance of the great Billy Bancroft for Wales.
Gabe, as a centre capable of beating his opposites with deception and speed, was a brilliant player in the Welsh teams which won the Triple Crown in 1902, 1905 and 1908, and which enjoyed a period of success called Wales’s first ‘golden era’. He also toured New Zealand with the Great Britain team of 1904.
It was Rhys Gabe who made the run that led to Teddy Morgan’s try which enabled Wales to beat the 1905 All Blacks. He also took part in the famous ‘foggy’ game of 1908 when Wales beat England by 28–18. Gabe scored twice that day – one of the tries was not seen by the England defence because of the murky weather.
There is another story that Gabe was kicked so hard in the backside in the Wales v Scotland game in 1905 that he could not sit down for six months! Being a schoolmaster it meant he had to conduct his lessons standing on his feet. However, the records also actually show that he was fit enough to play in Wales’s next match just three weeks later!
Why was the France v Ireland match of 1913 played in the morning in Cork?
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