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.
9 January 2015
Browsing through rugby things in the New Zealand summer (as you do!) I found this amazing shot of Tommy Gentles a Springbok test halfback from 1955-58. (see attached photo) Get a look at how teeny this man was! The records show that he stood 1.60metres tall (that's about five feet 3 inches. His weight was a little over 57kgs = 9 stone. The photo was taken before a rugby test match in 1955 when Tommy made his debut against the touring British Isles team. Dare I suggest rather than in the dressing room as the caption for the photograph suggested it was taken perhaps in a studio before the official team photograph. But I met this man... Read more »
2 January 2015
People often ask me ‘what was the greatest game you ever saw?’ As a young reporter I used to say it was the magical King Country v Hawkes Bay game for the Ranfurly Shield in Napier in 1968 (Colin Meads’ King Country team just got pipped by Kel Tremain’s Magpies by 19-16; 8 tries in the game! – a real thriller!) (To put that into perspective for you, you ought to know I had been born in Te Kuiti and King Country was then ‘my’ team!) But nowadays for my ‘bestest’ game I always go back to the glorious memory of the All Blacks v South Africa game in Pretoria in 1996. There was so much at stake that day and the game more than matched its expectations. Read more »
27 December 2014
www.keithquinnrugby.com started in August 2014 - and one of best parts is delving into my collection of photos, clippings and pictures from the game's glorious past (and present). I put up a new pic every week or so - and give you the reason and relevance as to why I have kept the shot so long. Just click on this 'Favourite Photos' link on the top of this page and scroll down them all. Read more »
15 December 2014
From my reading of books, papers and magazines in 2014; from watching TV or sitting in a movie house or just plain listening to people yarning there are always quotes to jot down; Here are some of my favourite 'Quotes' (on any subject) from 2014 (Jotted down in my notebooks in no particular order): (And, by the way I've also jotted down the WORST sports commentary quote of the year. It's at the bottom of the page!) ..... Read more »
29 November 2014
NEW ZEALAND RUGBY TESTS in 2014 Read more »
11 November 2014
As tour leaders of the Wiliiment Sport Travel groups in UK and France this winter (mostly following the 2014 All Blacks) Dave Loveridge and myself, with our wives, had been acutely aware that the inclusion of a 2-day breakaway trip from London to northern France and Belgium would be particularly poignant this year. 80 supporters were down to visit familiar battle sites for New Zealand war historians; places like; Messines, Passchendale and Ypres. Read more »
And three new All Black caps; Connor, Wolfe and McKay conjure up a try in the very first minute in the first test at Auckland!
Hawke’s Bay, East Coast and New Zealand
9 internationals for New Zealand 1924–30
A legendary figure in a legendary team, the 1924 ‘Invincible’ All Blacks. Only 19 at the time, George Nepia played all 38 matches during that gruelling tour of Australia, Britain, Ireland, France and Canada.
British sides were unstinting in their praise of Nepia, the rock on whom so many of their attacks foundered. His courage under the high ball and in repelling foot rushes, the crunching certainty of his tackling and the strength of his spiraled line kicking – all of these combined to restrict opposition teams to no more than 180 points against the All Blacks in the 38 games.
Nepia could also run with the ball. He had started his first-class career as a wing, then a five-eighth, before outstanding fullback displays in 1924 resulted in his being chosen as the only last line of defence. Early in the tour of Britain he made a sizzling run, but the dictatorial Mark Nicholls told him to leave the running to his five-eighths and three-quarters: his job was to defend. It was not until the 37th match of the tour, in Canada, that Nepia scored his first try!
A bogus telegram which advised the selectors of Nepia’s ‘unavailability’ cost him a place with the New Zealand Maoris’ trend-setting tour to Britain in 1927, and his All Black career finished after the 1930 home series against the British Isles. After a temporary retirement, Nepia returned to bid for a place with the 1935–36 All Blacks to tour Britain but was surprisingly not selected, though then playing as well as at any time of his career.
With his financial security in tatters at the end of the Depression, Nepia readily accepted the lure of rugby league money and played two seasons in England, and then for New Zealand. Reinstated to rugby in what was then called the ‘war-time amnesty’ which allowed rugby league professionals to return without recrimination to the amateur rugby union, Nepia played for East Coast in 1947, and in 1950 captained the Olympians club in a first-class fixture against Poverty Bay. George Nepia, father and son, were the fullbacks and captains on this historic day, George senior being 45 years old at the time.
He became an active referee and many spectators went to games just to watch Nepia referee, rather than see the two teams doing battle.
Who was the New Zealand test cricketer who played one rugby test for England?