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.
8 July 2015
This is a piece I wrote for a history of the 1991 Rugby World Cup. I tried to capture with dignity (and fairness!?) one of rugby's most memorable days. Though perhaps Welsh fans might not agree! Read more »
25 June 2015
So what about that 1995 Rugby World Cup - and especially the final? Well, the whole thing was a great event with the All Blacks playing by far the best rugby of any team at the tournament. That of course was never better shown then in the way they demolished England by 45-29 in the semi-final at Cape Town. Read more »
10 June 2015
My story on the late Jerry Collins having to front for a TV interview straight after an All Blacks World Cup defeat in 2003 has been picked up and run on the New Zealand Herald. As a result of that the All Blacks media manager from that New Zealand team has sent his version of events. I thank Matt McIlraith and publish his comments. Read more »
9 June 2015
My rugby writing friend Frankie Deges of Buenos Aires has this week wondered why I did not include in my website 'tribute' to the life Jerry Collins any mention of the time I was furious with the way Collins was treated by the management of an All Black team which he had just given his guts on the field for... so I publish that story right here. Read more »
8 June 2015
Many warm words have been written in recent days about the life of Jerry Collins. However some of the tributes have been of the once-over-lightly variety. This one is written by a Kiwi who prefers to be called 'Inky.' - nothing more nothing lees. I know who Inky is by name and I'll vouch for him as a rugby authority. I liked his tribute so much, with all its excellent new information about Jerry, that I thought i'd run again it here. I know I've kinda pinched it, but thanks Inky old mate! Read more »
4 June 2015
There we were the other day; two blokes sitting at home on a rainy afternoon in Wellington. We had nothing to do except pass the time of day away. The wives were out shopping and like the diligent husbands we are we were waiting at home for them. It was too early for a beer, there was tea in the pot and a new cake on the plate. But when we started talking about the composition of the 2015 All Blacks World Cup team the cake got ignored and the tea went cold. Read more »
The ABs win in the Wellington wind v France!
Ships couldn't berth on this fierce stormy day but the test went ahead anyway. NZ won 5-3 and hundreds of hats and scarves disappeared forever!
Auckland and New Zealand
6 internationals for New Zealand 1903–06
The captain of the first All Blacks team in 1905–06 and a controversial player in the eyes of some British writers of the time. Gallaher (originally spelled Gallagher) was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and brought to New Zealand by his parents as a young boy.
He served in the Boer War for the Sixth Contingent from New Zealand.
Because of the absence of international fixtures and Gallaher’s period of military service, he did not play his first test match until he was 28. Originally a hooker, he later became a ‘rover’ or wing forward, the position New Zealand created by packing down only seven men in each scrum.
Gallaher’s play in the wing forward position earned him enormous criticism while on tour in Britain in 1905–06. There were those who labeled him unsporting, and even a cheat. His wing forward style of waiting off scrums, mauls and rucks, either to defend attacks on his own halfback or disrupt the opposition’s man, was not at all appreciated by opposition teams, who had no apparent counter. Several referees penalised him heavily.
As a leader Gallaher was brilliant. He was the first rugby captain to ‘psyche’ his team up. On match days he would ask each man to spend an hour on his own to ‘rest and contemplate the game ahead’. He insisted his team be totally disciplined and pay attention to detail, both on and off the field, much in the manner of professional teams of today.
The 1905 New Zealand team was the first team to use liniment as a playing aid, and to chew gum (not at all advisable these days). It had code names for team moves, and used extra men in back moves, skip passes, decoys and other ruses not before seen in Britain. All of these innovations were devised and encouraged by Gallaher. His team, growing to believe totally in his leadership style, soon built up a formidable record. Only the controversial loss to Wales prevented the All Blacks from having an unbeaten tour record from 35 games.
Gallaher retired at the conclusion of the tour and became a provincial and, later, All Black selector. Tragically he lost his life in Belgium in 1917, during World War I.
Since 1922 the senior club championship in Auckland has been played for the Gallaher Shield, in commemoration of one of its greatest rugby sons. In 2011 a statue of him was unveiled at Auckland's rugby headquarters at Eden Park.
How many players of Samoan-birth or Samoan heritage have captained the All Blacks in tests? Name them.