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.
1 June 2015
Ever wondered just many many - or how few - All Blacks have been our record test try-scorers? You might be surprised. In 112 years of the All Black story there have only been seven test try-scoring record holders. And one old star held the record for 63 years! And can you recall who's the current scorer of most All Black test tries? Check the keithquinnrugby.com records here. Read more »
15 May 2015
Here's how an Olympic Rugby Gold Medal will look for those winners of the Men's and Women's competitions in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. They are a simple design - you might even say not particularly artistic - but they will be so keenly fought for! Read more »
6 May 2015
One of the key reasons for my tour to Europe and North America this year was to visit and pay homage to World War I battlefields and to the rugbymen who died there. We did that for sure, but not before meeting our guide and having lunch at a very appropriate place for New Zealand war watchers in Belgium. Read more »
22 April 2015
Here's an obituary about an old Irish star forward who will be much missed. I met Jimmy McCarthy a number of times. Not only was he a lovely, friendly bloke but the Irish players of modern times loved him too. He was seemingly always close to the national team. This report on his death I reprint from the Irish Rugby Football Union's official website; Read more »
10 March 2015
Special guest writer Adam Julian of Wellington delivers here a very fair profile on the rugby life and post-rugby life of 78 year old Ian Neven MacEwan. Read more »
A great day for NZ at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. Sean Fitzpatrick and John Hart's team silence the ghosts with a 33-26 triumph.
This was a game which was begun in New Zealand in 1897 and which became an annual one (with the exception of 1930 and the war years) until 1986, between teams representing the two main islands of New Zealand.
The inter-island series, North Island against South Island, was, through the 1920s right up to the early 1970s, consistently up to international standard. In its heyday, the game was eagerly looked forward to by everyone in New Zealand as it featured a match that often had the look of New Zealand ‘A’ against New Zealand ‘B’ (the ‘A’ team being the side which won!). Sometimes the game did officially double as an All Black trial.
In the 1970s lack of promotion of the game led to loss of interest. The New Zealand Rugby Union, after years of playing the inter-island game at major grounds, started moving it to lesser towns. Public support fell away and towards the end the game was marked by the number of top players who declared their unavailability rather than by those who did turn out. It was sad for New Zealand traditionalists when the match was abolished in 1987 and replaced by a three-way regional trial series featuring teams from three new zones, Northern, Central and Southern.
The last annual game in 1986 was typical of the decline of the North v South game. Played in the smasll town of Oamaru in the South Island, the game had a local college match as its curtain-raiser. When the college game finished, most of the crowds of local schoolchildren drifted away home, leaving the inter-island match to go ahead in front of a much smaller audience. The North Island won the game 22–10, ending the annual series with 49 wins. South had won 26 times and there were three drawn games.
The North-South game did return for special one-off games in 1995 and 2012. The former was an All Black trial and the latter was a fundraising game for the financially troubled Otago Rugby Union.
Ironically the inter-zone series which had followed the cancelled North-South series in 1986 had only three seasons of play before it, too, folded through lack of interest.
In which town or city was the first international rugby match played in Wales?