Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
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MY TAKE ON SOME OF THE RUGBY NEWS STORIES WHICH COME INTO MY WORLD.
31 December 2015
Good old Welshman Huw Richards whose written work I have always admired and enjoyed has obviously been keeping a super-close eye on the international rugby happenings of 2015. Read more »
21 December 2015
WHO HAS HELD THE ALL BLACK RECORD FOR 'MOST TESTS?' From the start of the ABs until now. Read more »
9 December 2015
Golly! Turning back the clock today! Martin Devlin of Radio Sport in New Zealand has just had me on-air on his programme asking for memories of the first ever 'Grand Slam win' by an All Blacks team in the United Kingdom. I gave him my best based on using notes from my 'Encyclopedia of World Rugby' published in the 1990s (and updated here) concerning which southern hemisphere countries had done best at this unique achievement. Read on here; Read more »
1 November 2015
Full lists of teams, referees and scoring for each Rugby World Cup match in 2015 were quite tough to collate. I have done such lists for each world cup since 1987. So this is my (so far uncompleted and always open to change) listing of records for the eighth Cup event. You will find here all 48 games; the appearances of those who started or came off the substitutes bench in each game; and/or those who were 'stripped to play' but were not called upon. [The last category are increasingly becoming a rarity in the international game these days] Read more »
1 October 2015
There have been some changes to a number of the teams at the 2015 Rugby World Cup since its Opening Ceremony. Here is an updated list of current players as at 1 October. Read more »
30 September 2015
In his next appearance for the All Blacks, Ma'a Nonu will become the 6th All Black to pass the milestone of appearing in 100 test matches. Here is one young correspondent's memory of his first sighting of the big midfield star. Adam Julian of Wellington takes up what was for him a very sad story.... Read more »
Jack Manchester's All Blacks are beaten 13-0 by England at Twickenham, with the Russian Prince Alexander Obolensky as a winger, dashing in for 2 tries.
Toulouse, Saracens, Gloucester, Auckland and France
72 internationals for France 1994-2007
A powerful, worldly member of the French forward pack through the late years of the 1990s and into the new millennium. At his best there was none who could better this hard-scrummaging prop forward and strong runner about the field. Which is ironic because he began his rugby as an overweight charger with little finesse. It was only after joining the Toulouse club that he fined down into a top rated forward who caught his national selector’s eye.
The thing about Califano is that while he was anchoring his club to three successive French club championship titles as a loosehead prop he was making his early presence as an international player as a tighthead. He had made his debut in France’s epic victories in New Zealand in 1994 when he played as part of a French front row against New Zealand’s redoubtable trio of Sean Fitzpatrick, Richard Loe and Craig Dowd.
Later Califano switched to his preferred loosehead as his test career blossomed and it was from that position that he went to South Africa in 1995 for the Rugby World Cup. He was also in the French team in 1999’s cup though by then back problems and the rise of new young French ‘bulls’ in the front row halted consistent progress.
After 1999 he traveled to New Zealand and had two seasons in Auckland playing in the Super 12 series.
His ability as a running, handling prop forward was never better exemplified than in 1996 when he scored three tries in one game against Romania. Has any test prop anywhere in the world bettered this? I doubt it.
In 2003 his career seemed over but he was recalled for several more games in 2007.
Who was the player in the All Blacks 1991 World Cup team who played in one test (against Italy) and never played for the All Blacks at any level before or after that game?