The Team That Changed Rugby Forever
NEW ZEALAND’S 4- 0 whitewash in South Africa in 1949 led to the All Blacks adopting a dour kick-based game that brought success but limited satisfaction. That changed when 15-man advocate Charlie Saxton managed the 1967 European tour.
With ruthless Fred Allen as coach, the team ran the ball and went unbeaten, despite such diffi culties as rescheduling because of snow and foot-and-mouth disease, Colin Meads’s sending- off, a catastrophic injury to English opponent Danny Hearn, and even witnessing a fatal shooting in San Francisco.
Author Alex McKay interviewed the 23 surviving players for this book of the tour, and their stories neatly intersperse the narrative.
For the era, New Zealand’s 71 tries in 17 games was a fl ood but Allen soon quit in anger after being rebuked – for allowing a journalist behind-the-scenes access – and Ivan Vodanovich took the All Blacks back to ten-man rugby.
So the book’s title is eye- catching but inaccurate, because it was the counter-attacking 1971 Lions who more than anyone forced New Zealand to expand their attacking mindset.
Colin Meads tries to block al kick in NZ’s 1967 win v Midlandsl