NZ Rugby World

IN TROUBLED TIMES

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The pitch was starting to freeze in Paris but no one was ready for ice-rugby.

In 1972, there were constant terror attacks in Northern Ireland due to the fact it was part of the UK when others wanted it to belong to Ireland.

There were constant bomb alerts and the danger level was high – particular­ly after the British Embassy had been burned down and warnings made that anyone from the UK coming to Ireland would be targeted.

So both Scotland and Wales, who were due to play Ireland in the Five Nations, decided not to go. Those matches were cancelled and never played.

Interestin­gly, the following year, the All Blacks toured the UK and shortly before heading to Ireland, one of the team, Bob Burgess, received a letter from the terrorist group the IRA.

It e ectively warned the All Blacks to be careful if they came. The letter read: “On behalf of the

IRA, we would like to give you a word of explanatio­n and some advice.

“We will take steps to try and ensure your safety, as we do not trust the Provos (our Black September group).

“No such immunity can be extended to any British team. So we can assure you that it was with good reason that the Scots and Welsh teams did not come here.

“By way of advice, we suggest that you should refrain from talking about politics.

“You should also refrain from making any comment on communicat­ion. If you do, apart from other measures, we will follow our usual practice of denying all knowledge or responsibi­lity.”

The All Blacks drew 10-all with Ireland and failed to achieve their goal of completing a Grand Slam over the four Home Unions.

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