Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
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Either way it's a good quote; 'When a cricketer gets hit in the private parts, he hopes the pain will go away very soon but the swelling doesn't!'
'Those who can play ...play
'Those who can't play ...coach
'Those who can't coach ... write
'And those who can't write - become commentators!'
'Unless I am very much mistaken...I AM very much mistaken...!'
'A smile is the light in your face which tells people your heart is at home!'
'Winning isn't everything; but wanting to IS!'
'Yes, I AM drunk again, but I'm not an alcoholic; I only have a drink every time Richie McCaw is offside!'
Writing about the Government in power in Australia in 2014; "Fumble, Bumble, Tumble, Stumble and Mumble. This Abbot Government embraces all the 'Umbles - except Humble!"
"Don't be afraid to go out on a limb, often that's where the best fruit is found!"
"Welsh rugby players, if not born, are certainly conceived on a rugby field!"
"They used to say the two most important players in any rugby team were the tighthead prop and the reserve tighthead prop!"
'In New Zealand rugby comes first, rugby comes second, rugby comes third, fourth, fifth and sixth.'
'After you've seen one wall, you've seen 'em all!'
'We take life too lightly and sport too seriously.'
'I'm on a whiskey diet, I've lost three days already!'
'When you lose something the journey back is longer than the forward run.'
The ABs win in the Wellington wind v France!
Ships couldn't berth on this fierce stormy day but the test went ahead anyway. NZ won 5-3 and hundreds of hats and scarves disappeared forever!
Otago and New Zealand
51 internationals for New Zealand 1997-2002
The talented New Zealand utility loose forward, who sadly, might be remembered more as the man who had the unenviable job of returning home after being the captain of the beaten All Blacks at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Such a summary is totally unfair as Randell’s team left for the Cup with excessive expectations from the New Zealand public, and it belies the fact that Randell was a top international forward right through his playing career. It is just that by various All Black selectors he was shunted though three loose forward positions and not ever being allowed to settle in one.
Randell came into the All Blacks on the 1995 tour of France, and within 12 months on the 1996 tour of South Africa he had become a 21 year old captain of the midweek New Zealand team. By 1997 he made his test debut against Fiji at Albany Stadium at North Shore, Auckland. That year, in a gruelling sequence at the time, he played in all 12 tests on the All Blacks programme. One of those was as a number eight forward, the others as a blindside flanker. In the next year the All Black coach John Hart elevated him to the test captaincy. At 23 years old he was the fourth youngest leader in All Black history. He played the first five of those tests as a number eight but was then shuffled back to the flanker’s role.
Initially the captaincy sat kindly on Randell’s shoulders. But as a sequence of defeats crept in, rather than blame the older players, it was the young captain who took the rap from the public. He seemed to lose confidence and, at times, composure.
In 1999, World Cup year, the New Zealand public believed that the spirit of the All Blacks would come through again and young Randell was again charged with leading the team, with the massive trust again on his shoulders.
The All Blacks reached the semi-finals against France at Twickenham but there the New Zealanders world came crashing down. France won 43-31. In Britain (and France no doubt!) the game is remembered as one of the greatest ever seen at Twickenham; in New Zealand it was seen as a national disaster. And heads had to roll. Coach John Hart resigned as soon as the Cup series was over. Randell had to wait till new coach Wayne Smith decided if he wanted to retain him or not. Smith did, but not with the captaincy. Todd Blackadder was preferred instead. The leadership was wrenched away from Randell who had to publicly face the wrath and scorn of the public.
He played most of the season in the team however and after the departure of Smith as coach, (replaced by John Mitchell), and injuries to two further All Black leaders (Anton Oliver and Rueben Thorne) Randell was restored as captain for the late season tour to Europe in 2002. By then, at 28 years old, Randell was a much more mature person and to most people’s delight he handled things well. In the game against France at Paris he became one of the small band of All Blacks who in those times had passed 50 test match appearances.
Which club supplied seven players of the 1971 British and Irish Lions touring team to New Zealand - five of whom played all four tests?