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.
20 February 2015
I found this quote the other day while trying to find out a few notes about the 2015 Kenyan Rugby Sevens team ahead of the next HSBC Sevens World Series event in Las Vegas. When the star Kenyan try-scorer Collins Injera was urgently called home after the earlier Wellington Sevens to be with his wife who was expecting a baby any day suddenly it was considerable news. I put the news comment in here just because I like the way the Kenyan team management speak about their man. Enjoy it... Read more »
8 February 2015
After all the pre-tournament chat which we Wellington sports watchers and listeners had been subjected to about how bad, shocking and terrible the Wellington 7s rugby event was going to be it is great to sit here now and recall, that from my opinion, just what a success it was. Read more »
31 January 2015
Don't get me wrong here. I congratulate Uini Atonio for being selected in the French rugby team this northern season. Uini (pronounced 'Weeny') Atonio made his test debut before Christmas coming off the bench v Fiji in Paris and with all the attention then on the exploits of the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies in their tests in UK, Atonio's arrival and unique story kind of slipped under the main news. Read more »
30 January 2015
In the photo left to right are ex-All Black captain Dave Loveridge, the ex-All Black fullback Allan Hewson, yours truly (who will be back at the same ground commentating rugby sevens in sevens days time). Completing the pic is Adair Cameron, the General Manager of Williment Travel Group, in Wellington. Adair's friendly team hosted we three, and others, watching Sri Lanka playing New Zealand. It was a great night of fun and sporting chat. And watching the game unfold. Read more »
21 January 2015
On hearing the news that Gareth Anscombe, the former New Zealand Under-20 international, had been included in the first Welsh training squad in the 2015 Rugby World Cup year, got me thinking. While it's sad that New Zealand has lost yet another player to a country off shore it is something we have all had to live with. Read more »
13 January 2015
This story is part of folklore at the Barbarians Club in Auckland, New Zealand. It is one which shows that even in the middle of a feisty rugby test match a mother's pride will still come shining through! Read more »
Bay of Plenty sevens expert Gordon Tietjens takes his first NZ team to Fiji. They didn't win the tournament there but Tietjens stayed coach for 20-plus years
Headquarters for the game of rugby in Samoa. Apia Park is a ground with a colourful past. Just as Twickenham in London was once a market garden, and cabbages were grown at Lancaster Park in Christchurch during World War I, Apia Park in the capital city of Samoa was once a horse racing track and a golf course.
Situated close to the city, the ground was originally owned by the occupying German Government. The first horse racing was held on Kaiser Wilhelm II’s birthday in 1910. Later, Chinese, Melanesian and Samoan labourers ploughed the swampy land, aided by oxen-drawn carts. They levelled an inner field and plans for rugby were drawn up. The locals did not worry that a large, shady tree was left intact on what was to be inside the field of play.
Horse racing died out in 1939. The first rugby game on the park was in 1924 when an Apia Selection played a Pago Pago Naval XV. Apia won 33-0. During the same year a Fijian team on its way to play Tonga stopped in Apia. Its two games against the locals were split one win each. It is not recorded how the teams coped with playing around the tree!
These days the rebuilt ground, with its superb backdrop of palm trees and other native flora and fauna, must be one of the prettiest in the world.
Apia Park has always been a highly significant place for sport in Samoa. In 1991 before the advent of a home TV network, crowds used to come to the ground and sit for hours overnight waiting to watch on an imported giant TV screen the matches of (Western) Samoa at the World Cup in Britain.
For years the field was also used as a golf course, but in 1975 the inherent dangers of people walking near such a course led them to shift to a new venue, at the Royal Samoan Golf Club. Only then for the first time could rugby truly claim the grounds.
In 2007, Apia Park was one of the main venues for the 2007 Pacific Games. In 2015 it will play host many events at the Youth Commonwealth Games, the opening and closing ceremonies. It will also host the All Blacks from New Zealand for a much anticipated game against Manu Samoa. The ground has a capacity of 15,000.
Players with the surnames of Jones, Williams and Thomas when added together made up how many players in the Welsh squad at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia?