Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
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!)
First - the BEST ones! This one concerns the rugby hooker Keven Mealamu who has now set the record for playing in the most first-class games in New Zealand history. Said an un-named teammate; "We believe he's put his arms around his All Black propping mates more times than he has put them around his wife!"
"Looking at a women's cleavage is like looking at the sun. You don't dare stare. You just get a sense of it - and then look away quickly!" Jerry Seinfeld at some function.
The Bible made a guess at the outcome of the 2014 New Zealand General Election; "The heart of the wise man inclines to the right; the heart of the fool leans to the left." Ecclesiastes 10:2
The Bible also made a judgement on the Wellington rugby team's awful 2014 season: from John 11:35; '...Jesus Wept..."
A critical quote about the current Government in power in Australia: "Fumble, Bumble, Tumble, Stumble and Mumble. The Abbot Government embraces all of the 'umbles - except Humble!" Phillip Adams - 'Oz Wit' edition 16 August 2014.
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain!" (A sentence on a card, presented by her friends to my granddaughter in 2014 on her 13th birthday - and written by poet Vivian Greene.
An anonymous quote which could apply to any sport; "Don't be afraid to go out on a limb, of that's where the best fruit is often found..."
"You can't stop the march of Father Time - nor the effects of his missus - Mother Nature! In sporting terms they are both formidable - though we all know Father Time is undefeated!"
"They used to say the two most important men in any rugby team were the tighthead prop and the reserve tighthead prop!"
The ex-English rugby player Peter Robbins used to say; "Welsh rugby players, if not born, are certainly conceived on a rugby field!"
WORST TV commentary Quote of the Year; (In the light of the on-going discussion about the dangers of concussion in all sport - Colonel Bob Sheridan's commentary on the replay of the knockout punch at the recent Joseph Parker v Irineu Beato Costa Jnr fight in Auckland, surely does NOT help) Over the video Sheridan uttered the following inanity.
"Oh! See that head-snap! Wow! That's a brain-stem knockout! It's where the brain crashes into the side of the skull!"
40,000 fans welcome popular Manu Samoa onto Eden Park but NZ wins 35-13.
Wellington and New Zealand
18 internationals for N. Zealand 1987–89
One of the rugby union world's most brilliant attacking fullbacks of the 1980s but who at the peak of his rugby union powers, was lost to rugby league.
John Gallagher was a young fullback living in London who decided to accept an offer of a rugby-playing holiday in Wellington, New Zealand in 1984. By 1986 his life had changed. He had decided to stay in New Zealand, he had embarked on a career with the police force, and late in the year he was included with the New Zealand All Blacks for their tour to France. He was very much a second-stringer on that tour, playing twice at centre.
It was a different matter in 1987. Given the confidence of being chosen as the number one fullback for the first Rugby World Cup, Gallagher’s speed and brilliant intrusions from fullback became a powerful weapon in the All Black armoury.
In his second test match, against Fiji at Christchurch, Gallagher scorched in for four tries (equalling the then New Zealand record for one test match) and helped make many more as the All Blacks raced out to a 74–13 win.
Gallagher played five of the All Blacks’ games at the World Cup, including the final, and was seen as one of the tournament’s most brilliant players. That kind of form followed him through 1988 and 1989, on four other All Black tours.
In May 1990, Gallagher, by then firmly ensconced as one of the country’s most popular sporting heroes, suddenly announced that he was heading for rugby league. The news sent shock waves through New Zealand rugby circles. There was at first disbelief and a little scorn from some, although soon emotions quietened and sensible Kiwis wished him luck in his new career.
The departure of Gallagher to rugby league, along with fellow All Blacks Frano Botica, John Schuster and Matthew Ridge, awakened New Zealanders to the realisation that their national game was not the only one on the sporting horizon. The departure of ‘Kipper’ Gallagher also left an extremely hard-to-fill gap in the All Black backline. No player would be quite like the flying redhead from the Oriental-Rongotai club in Wellington.
Gallagher signed with the Leeds rugby league club after 18 tests for the All Blacks. He scored 13 tries in tests, and in one game, in Japan in 1987, he scored 30 points. His signing fee was reported to be $NZ1.3 million (at the time about £420,000), well in excess of the previous reported world record fee.
Who was the player in the All Blacks 1991 World Cup team who played in one test (against Italy) and never played for the All Blacks at any level before or after that game?