Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
8 November 2014
Aftermatch Report; New Zealand v England; November 8 2014
Sitting there, high up in the towering stands at Twickenham my first impression when this game was being played was how tough it was and how long the game took to play!
It seemed to me the first half in particular took ages to reach its 30-minute mark. I guess that was because of the tightness of the contest and the fact that the All Blacks did not have it all their own way.
You have to understand that sitting and watching test rugby with Kiwi fans is still a relatively new thing for me. For much of my working life,(that's gulp, 40 years or so, ago) I have concentrated on commentating the games for TV or I have watched from supposedly quiet press boxes. [It was an old New Zealand Herald 'rule' that reporters never spoke during a game (Dear Terry McLean and Don Cameron would wheel around and glare if one dared to utter an exclamation at any 'goings-on' on the field which had not been detected)]
So all around me at Twickers yesterday I marveled at what I heard - mostly from the New Zealanders on our tour supporter's groups. The first thing was someone really grumping at the crowd singing right over the top of the All Black haka. 'The bastards have no respect!' one of our guys sneered. I know he is a life member of his own club back home. I felt like saying, 'but mate, this is England! They DON'T have to have regard for our cultural differences.' However I let it lie.
I agreed with the next thing I heard, 'Hey Keith, we can't read the bloody numbers of these new All Black shirts.' That was defintely true. Whatever adidas were trying to do with their 'blackest All Black jersey ever' promotion which they had been trumpeting about these last couple of weeks to me it was pathetic that the very people they should be trying to impress, i.e; the fans, could not identify the heroes wearing their colours.
And then there were the comments at the first major highlight in the game - a superbly taken try by the England winger Jonny May. He simply scooted around Conrad Smith and a couple of other All Blacks and gave a whoop and a holler as he scored. Some of my new Kiwi friends of a couple of days were derisive. 'Bloody soft try!' I heard and the like. There was simply no praise for what May had brilliantly achieved. It crossed my mind how loud the cheering would have been if such a try had have been scored by one of the All Blacks!
I was really pleased that Sonny Bill Williams went so well and that the coaches gave him the 'full 80' on the field. SBW seemed to relish it and might have scored a try right in front of us if only he hadn't slipped after a wonderful bursting break.
The point that Steve Hansen made to the press afterwards seemed valid. The crowd (a record 82,223) seemed to scream blue-murder if they sensed England had been wronged. Was it a coincidence that suddenly the referee Nigel Owens would then be drawing the TMO sign in the air and replays would appear, over and over, on the big screen. The crowd screamed no such protest when it was England who were getting a questionable decision going their way. Hmmmm...
In the end the All Blacks could take tremendous satisfaction in their victory. It was tough, tough all the way though when the rain came tumbling down it leveled things out just when New Zealand were spinning the ball at high speed at making the big men of England struggle to keep up. If it had stayed dry maybe the margin for the All Blacks might have been wider.
The whimsy in me had hoped that after Beauden Barrett had kicked a penalty and the score stood at 19-14 that such a score would have been appropriate given the commemorations of the week. But 24-21 was good too though for the life of me, with the distance and murk being what it was at the end, I had no idea of having an opinion of why England had been awarded a late penalty try..
My pre-match prediction of 35-16 to New Zealand was wide of the mark but one lady in our group, Evelyn Wright, let out a mighty squeal at the end (right in my ear Evelyn!). She had picked 24-21 to the All Blacks and so was 40 quid richer.
Good on her - and good on the All Blacks for a solidly taken victory today. That's two games played (the one in Chicago remember which our group had not attended) and two good wins!
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!
Universitaire de France and France
1 international for France 1910
This player is another of rugby’s unusual internationals from early in the twentieth century.
Joe Anduran, an art dealer, was in his shop in Paris one day when a taxi pulled up outside and several ofﬁcials of the French Rugby Federation climbed out. Apparently they had just seen the French team depart from the railway station as they headed off to play Wales in Swansea on New Year’s Day, 1910. But only 14 Frenchmen had gone on the train; the 15th was held up in Bordeaux while doing his military service.
So the ofﬁcials were sent on an urgent errand around Paris to ﬁnd another forward for the game to be played next day. Their search eventually took them to Joe Anduran’s art shop. Anduran was a useful club player in Paris but nothing more, and at ﬁrst he thought it was a joke when the strangers asked him if he wanted to play for France the next day. He was persuaded to leave immediately, but he soon found his ﬁrst obstacle in making the trip to Swansea was not so much the booking on the cross-channel ferry, but his wife!
Madame Anduran, it seems, did not share her husband’s pride in being selected to play for France – she had made arrangements for Joe to do some family visiting with her the next day. However, soon Joe Anduran was on the train for Swansea, where the next day he ran on to St Helen’s ﬁeld for his debut for France.
Wales won the game by the handsome margin of 49 points to 14. Not surprisingly, Joe Anduran was one of those who was axed by the French selectors in their reshufﬂe of the badly beaten team and he was never seen again in the French colours.A good story for the history books though!
What was unusual about Daniel Dubois' play in the second half of the South West France game v Australia in 1967?