It’s noth­ing com­pared to the All Blacks of ‘49

The Rugby Paper - - Views -

LIFE is hec­tic for New Zealand na­tional sides right now, what with the Gal­la­her Cup match against France in Paris last night and Tues­day’s much an­tic­i­pated ex­tra match against a France XV in Lyon. A riot of rugby but far from un prece­dented. In fact New Zealand once played two capped Tests on the same day Septem­ber 3, 1949.

First up in Welling­ton that day came the Aus­tralians. New Zealand were de­prived of the 30 play­ers on tour in South Africa but they still boasted three Maori backs who had been ex­cluded from the tour on racial grounds - Johnny Smith, Ben Couch and Vince Be­van – and who would prob­a­bly have been first choice All Blacks.

At scrum-half was fu­ture All Blacks cap­tain Bob Stu­art while mak­ing his de­but up front was Richard ‘Tiny’ White, be­low, who was to be­come one of the New Zealand im­mor­tals in the 1950s.

A tidy team but Aus­tralia pretty much had the match tied up by half-time with two tries for wing Ralph Garner and a third for flanker Colin Win­don. The Ki­wis did man­age a sec­ond half try from Gra­ham Moore and a penalty from Kelly.

Mean­while in Dur­ban, 11,264 km away a bad day got worse when the New Zealand’s first string lost 9-3 to South Africa against a pow­er­ful Boks side with Oky Gef­fin kick­ing three penal­ties. Cen­tre Mau­rice God­dard scored New Zealand’s try.

The clos­est to em­u­lat­ing this was Italy dur­ing a mad­cap New Zealand tour in 1980 when they lost to NZ Ju­niors 30-13 at Eden Park – Italy were awarded caps – on July 5 be­fore head­ing straight for the Cook Is­lands. Less than 48 hours later, on what was July 6 be­cause they crossed the in­ter­na­tional date­line Italy lost 15-6. Three Ital­ian backs Rhino and Nino Francescato and Stephano Battarello com­pleted both matches.

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