The McLook rugby collection

A personal collection that tells the story of Springbok rugby

North East Cape, NTVL and Junior 'boks

The last three tour games of the 1970 All Black tour were against North East Cape, Northern Transvaal and the Junior Springboks (Gazelle). The one against North East Cape had a cricket score but the other two were hard matches that the AB almost lost.

All Blacks 85 / North East Cape 0 

The All Blacks simply ran away with the Northeast Cape team who had no defence system and who was clearly totally out of their depth. New Zealand scored 17 tries from all positions on the field. 

Terry McLean has the following on this match. 

Clarke (North East Cape No5) was the best lineout player in the match and Loock (North East Cape No4) his partner helped to deny the All Blacks ball, too. Pienaar, who opposed Dick, was yet another of the startlingly good tacklers they breed like flies in South Africa. The rest did their best. They were just completely outclassed. The All Blacks jelled. It was cruelly disillusioning to discover that a South African team, any sort of South African team, could be beaten by 85 points. 

Kember fullback for the AB had his best game on tour with a personal contribution of 34 points, a new South African record. Alan Sutherland also impressed on eightman running around like a centre and there were questions in the All Black camp, as to why have Sutherland not played more on 8. Kirkpatrick -captain for the match- scored three tries and Thorne 4. 

The altitude affected the players badly in Aliwal North and they were completely wasted after the match. The team was however obviously very pleased and even impressed with their performance especially when the South African media made comments such as: ”If you play this team you'll win the fourth test”. 

Bill Davis one of the backs tried all tour to convince the AB management to play a different structure in the backline and in this game he simply decided -against instructions from the coach- to play according to his theory. What Davis promoted was that the two centres play inside-outside and that no 10 should sit in the pocket with the centres and fullback running off him. The flyhalf is not running on to the ball, but acts almost like a second 9 sitting deep and send the backs away with long passes; Blair Furlong the AB No10 for this game played according to Davis' instructions with excellent results against weak opposition, of course. The effectiveness of the approach in creating space on the outside resulted in several questions being posed to the coaches after the game regarding the “new strategy”. The questioners primarily wanted to know why the Davis plan has not been tried earlier seeing how effective it panned out to be. The coach stoically refused to be drawn into any debate or discussion on this issue. 

There was an incident a day after the match -when the All Blacks were already in Pretoria- when the South African Press Association was officially advised from Burgersdorp that the North East Cape centre Deus van Vuuren had died of a brain haemorrhage after a late tackle by Graeme Thorne. The tragic news was send into the world until one pressman decided to call the Burgersdorp police station, where van Vuuren worked. To the reporter’s surprise, the late player himself answered the phone, the player was completely shocked with the news that he died in hospital. 

Thorne's comment late this evening was: 'Someone in South Africa has got a sick sense of humor. " 

The North East Cape team who played in this match were: P Swanepoel; A Pienaar; D van Vuuren; J Bennet; J Scholtz; A Neethling; B Botha; P Hattingh; R Venter; W Loock (Captain); P Clark; D Nel; W Fourie; J Pienaar; N Cretchley. 

The New Zealand team who played in this match can be seen here

All Blacks 19 / Northern Transvaal 15 

The win against Northern Transvaal has been accompanied by great relief for both the AB camp and the rest of South Africa, according to David. The All Blacks and the rest of SA were apparently up to their ears weary and fed-up -to the point of bursting- with hearing how good the Northern Transvaal blue bulls were. 

 

Piet Uys the NTVL captain in the game against the 1970 AB. Uys played in 12 tests for the Springboks (1960-1969) with the Springboks only losing once during his tenure. He has his place in the team was taken by Dawie de Villiers. 

Northern Transvaal had 8 Springboks in their team for this match. The Springboks in the NTVL team were Tonie Roux (15), Piet Uys (9 and Captain), Thys Lourens (6), Frik du Preez (5), Johan Spies (4), Ronnie Potgieter (3), Gys Pitzer (2) and Mof Myburg (1). 

1970 All Blacks against NTVL. According to the subtitle Gys Pitzer is here in an encounter with Going. 

This picure was taken a slpit sceond after the one above. It shows Gys Pitzer retaliating and knocking Going down.

The reputation of the Northern Transvaal pack with its six Springboks suffered today, neither du Preez nor Spies exercising any influence at all. Murdoch (AB No1) showed that there wouldn’t be a more powerful scrummager in the world when he almost bent the powerful ex-Springbok Potgieter in half while Muller (AB No. 3) was in no way awed by the reputation of the Springbok Myburg and, indeed, emerged from the contest a clear winner. 

Keith Murdoch who, according to Gabriel David in his book “rugby and be damned” demonstrated he was the strongest prop in world rugby when playing against Northern Transvaal. Murdoch is one of the most tragic stories in New Zealand rugby history. In 1972 -during the UK-end year tour an intoxicated Murdoch hit a security man -working at the hotel where the team stayed- the evening after the test match against Wales.  Murdoch -under pressure from the UK rugby is that the tour will be terminated – was sent home. On return Murdoch left New Zealand to go and hide in the Australian "outback" and has since 1972 not yet put his feet on New Zealand soil. For more information on Murdoch click here

Keith Murdock and Ronnie Potgieter (who was also one of the reserves for the Springboks) was at each others for the whole match. Murdock walked away with the honours in this match.

Von Blommenstein was a most useful flyhalf while van Staden and Alberts were two of the best seen on the tour. Roux played splendidly at fullback, never dropping a ball and always elusive in tight situations. 

 

Tonie Roux played excellently for NTVL at fullback. He played in 7 test (1969-1974) for the Springboks, 2 tests at fullback, the other five at centre. 

This picture shows Tonie Roux in action against the 1970 All Blacks.

The NTVL pack came out with a hiss and a roar and dominated early in the game. It put the AB under great pressure and a stunned AB team watched Tonie Roux jumped in the line -after 9 minutes of play- and put Alberts in space for NTVL's first try.

These two pictures shows FRannie Alberts scoring the firts of his two tries for NTVL. On the top picture he receive the ball from centre Andre van Staden who scrumhalf passed the ball to him. In the bottom picture he scores in the corner.

New Zealand however gradually came back into the game and began to dominate up front as the bulls start running out of puff. In the 28th minute of the second half, the AB took the lead only to see how Alberts gathered a cross kick and break through some weak defence to run 30 yards for a try in the corner. The conversion went astray and the AB retained a one point lead. In the 79th minute however Kember sealed the victory for the AB with a penalty. 

Andre van Staden the NTVL centre who made quite an impression on both Gabriel David and Terry McLean. He went on the Springbok tour to France in 1975 but never played for the Springboks in a test. 

For the All Blacks Thorne, Going, Lochore, Sutherland, Kirkpatrick, Meads and Urlich had good matches. New Zealand won the battle at the break downs as well as the heal against the head contest and was not outplayed in the lineout. 

Sutherland (2) and Urlich scored for New Zealand and Kember was successful with both conversions and a penalty. Alberts (2) scored for Northern Transvaal, and Brand and van Staden kicked a field goal each. 

The All Black team who played against Northern Transvaaal can be seen here

All Blacks 29/ Junior 'boks 25 

From Pretoria the AB travelled to Potchefstroom for their last tour match against the Junior Springboks (Gazelle). The three hour bus ride to Potch and the town itself they found extremely boring especially as the trip to Potch again fell over a long weekend. 

One All Black commented: "This place is half as big as the Karori Cemetery and twice as dead!" 

It was a stressful and exciting game which New Zealand won in the dying minutes with brilliant play by Graeme Thorne. The author reckons (tongue in the cheek)  that Thorne was such a talented sportsman with such BMT that he would have been able to raise even the New Zealand cricket from the dead (bit of a "Tall Order", I think). 

David writes as follows: 

The All Blacks were lucky to win this match. Indeed, they didn’t really deserve to, despite scoring six tries to two. The tourists were a disorganized unit for a good part of the game, particularly the backs who suffered from some indifferent play by Kirton at first five-eight. 

There were some immensely useful backs in the Gazelle side. How young Johan Walters can be left out of a Springbok side is one of the mysteries of this tour. And Piet Cronje showed he too is a class centre who would not disgrace a Springbok side. The tactically sound flyhalf Van Blommenstein is another who must soon wear the South African jersey. Coetzee and Williams were two impressive forwards, while Fourie had some moments in the loose. 

Piet Cronje, who impressed at centre and who David described as a future Springbok. Cronje has played for Tvl and the Gazelle against the 1970 All Blacks. In 1971 he would get his Springbok cap going on the tour with the Springboks to Australia. He played in 7 tests (1971-1974) and scored three tries for the Springboks. 

The Junior Springbok team who played in this match were: Jannie van Deventer; T du Toit; Johan Walters; Piet Cronje; Leon Vogel; J van Blommenstein; Joggie Viljoen; K Grobler; P Fourie; John Williams; C Dreyer; J Coetzee; J O’Kennedy; J Wagenaar; Sakkie Sauerman. 

Of the 15 players who represented the for the Gazelle team at least 8 later became Springboks namely Piet Cronje; Leon Vogel; Joggie Viljoen; Kleintjie Grobler; Polla Fourie; John Williams; Jan-Boland Coetzee and Sakkie Sauerman. 

Polla Fourie who played in one test for the Springboks in 1974 against the British Lions. He was the brother of well known Springbok wing Carel (Tossie) Fourie. 

Theo (Sakkie) Sauerman that played for the Junior Springboks against the 1970 All Blacks. He played in 5 tests for the Springboks (1971-1974). 

It will be interesting to hear what happened to Van Blommenstein (No10 of NTVL), he kicked two brilliant drop goals in the game and his overall game impressed the Kiwi Sport journalists. Other players who played in this match for the Gazelle and who disappeared from the scene was Johan Walters (WP-centre), C Dreyer (lock), O'Kennedy (Boland-prop) and Wagenaar (hooker). 

1970 All Blacks against the Gazelle. No 10 on the photograph is von Blommenstein (NTVL No10). The blond Gazelle player going in for the tackle and just to the right of No10 looks like Sakkie Sauerman. The Gazelle player on the right with the head gear looks like John Williams and the player immediately on his left has the looks of a young Kleintjie Grobler. The two Gazelle players directly behind the AB with the ball and the one on his knees in front of the ball carrier I can’t identify. 

About the All Blacks performance in this game David writes: 

The forwards played extremely well in the final stages of the game with Meads in magnificent mood as he crashed through the barriers of defence, won good ball in the lineout and dealt summary justice to Grobler who was seen to throw a rabbit punch at Lochore. That broken arm of Meads is mending. He used it to quieten Grobler and it worked! 

 

Kleintjie Grobler who might be the Grobler that Collin Meads called to order with his left hand. Grobler played in 1974 in a test against the British Lions and two tests against the 1975 French touring team. 

This photograph shows Kleintjie Grobler competing for the ball against Colin Meads in the Gazelle match. 

For the AB Cottrell (2), Wylie, Lister, Going, and Thorne scored. Thorne was successful with 4 conversions and a penalty. For the Gazelle (Junior Springboks) Walters and Grobler scored tries. Van Blommenstein kicked two drop goals and van Deventer was successful with two conversions and three penalty goals. 

This picture shows Johan Walters on his way to a spectacular try for the Junior Boks in Potchefstroom.

Graeme Thorne kicking a conversion in the dying minutes of the match against the Junior Springboks which won the match for the AB. 

The referee was Gert Bezuidenhout, who came up with some very strange decisions. Gert Bezuidenhout will be remembered for the fourth test against the 1976 All Blacks when he cost New Zealand the match by not giving a penalty try after clear obstruction. 

The All Black team who played against the Junior Springboks can be seen here.

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