Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
11 August 2014
Yes it really is going to happen! For those of us over the years who have wondered at an apparent oversight - or even a grave injustice (you can take your pick) it seems that an amalgamation between two World Rugby Halls of Fame is going to be very good news for the great New Zealand All Black Sir Colin Meads.
From 1997 a privately owned body, headquartered in New Zealand, which called itself the International Rugby Hall of Fame, had held functions every couple of years and successfully 'inducted' several dozen of the world's top international players into their IRHOF. They were great parties I must say - I attended some of them.
Included in the opening 'First XV' party held in London was none other than Colin Meads.
Then as the years rolled into the new Millennium, watching from the sidelines it seems the International Rugby Board liked the idea too of having a Hall of Fame. In 2006 the IRB therefore began their own Hall and gradually they phased out the IRHOF. How that happened is a sidebar here and probably not worth going into. Suffice to say the two bodies did not admire each other for a long time.
But as the years rolled by and over 100 men, famous teams, referees, administrators and even some media were inducted ot the IRB's Hall of Fame there seemed to have been a glaring oversight. The great Meads was always overlooked.
Forget that he had been voted by the New Zealand public as their 'Player of the Century' in 1999, and that he was a Commander of the British Empire in New Zealand, and then Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II - there was never a place for him in the IRB Hall of Fame.
There was still no place even when eight other New Zealanders were voted in ahead of him!
And no disrepect to Alfred St George Hamersley, or Vladimir Ilyushin, or the Tsimba brothers, Richard and Kennedy - or Ian Campbell the father of Chilean rugby - surely our 'Pinetree' deserved a place. Have you heard of the other people and theri contribution?
Well, forget all of the aforementioned - now in 2014-15 it is going to change. Following a protracted series of meetings between the IRB and the IRHOF the two Halls will merge. And all those previously inducted into the IRHOF will now go into the IRB Hall.
And quite right too.
Putting it simply, as one who has long campaigned for Meads's inclusion in the IRB Hall (while sometimes feeling like a lone voice I might add) all i can say is -'BOUT BLOODY TIME TOO!
The record 70-6 World Cup win over Italy was just five days earlier. Now John Gallagher and Craig Green each scored 4 tries in this new record 74-13 win over Fiji.
Several international rugby matches (of sorts) have been played on the ice of Antarctica, so they should be recognized in an A-Z such as this.
In 1989 a group of scientists and staff started a match between USA and New Zealand. It is a fixture on the ice which has been played intermittently over the years since.
There are several unique features about rugby in Antarctica. Firstly the game is played on a snow-covered ice field and sometimes there have been no goal posts. Implanting posts into the rock-hard ice is nigh impossible. Sometimes the game has been delayed several days until the weather clears. The clothing the players wear is interesting; often it has been full kit needed for living in extremely cold temperatures. Sometimes too, the teams have been of mixed gender. And often it is not certain whether teams will be at full strength. One year a New Zealand squad gathered prospective players at 3pm, picked their best line up, and the game kicked off at 3.30!
In an international between the New Zealand Scott Base team and the USA McMurdo Base team in 2001, the New Zealanders scored three tries to one, but the score was posted in the weekly Antarctic Sun newspaper as being 9-3. Obviously the message had not made it through to the people on the ice of the increase in points values for a try! That had first happened over 30 years earlier!
Who was the New Zealand test cricketer who played one rugby test for England?