The McLook rugby collection

A personal collection that tells the story of Springbok rugby

Country districts, Natal and Southern Universities

East London was the AB's next stop for a match against a South African Counrty XV. The Kiwi's experienced the hotel owner smug, a bit of a stuck-up and full of self-importance. They found it very amusing when, one Gielie de Kock -a white journalist with a dark skin- was chased out of the hotel with a group of coloured suppoters keen to meet the All Blacks. 

It was amusing because it illustrated the absurdity of race classification on the basis of skin colour; an absurd system which in reality -as the case demonstrates- was a can full of worms. Gabriel David and Terry McLean (the writers whose books I use as my primary sources) both went on a trip to the Transkei and Umtata where they had the opportunity to interview Chief Matanzima head of the Transkei. The object of the interview was to assess the black people's views on the homeland policy. Chief Matanzima was at that time apparently positive about homelands and was of the opinion that the black and white populations must not integrate. 

About Chief Matanzima Gabriel David writes: 

This serious-minded Xhosa with penetrating eyes that rarely soften with humor is not quite the puppet that Pretoria would like him to be. He is a supporter of separate development just as long as the Transkei is allowed to be a self-determining nation. 

He appreciates the important fact that the Bantu and the white could never integrate and, in fact, is quite adamant, that there should not be any union or merging society. He jealously guards the culture of the Bantu and fears it would be lost if there was integration. 

The principal problem facing Matanzima is to persuade the Xhosa people that the Transkei is their home and that they should live within the border. The Bantus are still pouring into the Big South African cities where top wages are being paid. 

Photographic walk through Transkei of 1970

 

Chief Matanzima

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 August 1970: All Blacks 45 / SA Country districts 8 

Bryan Williams scored three tries, 4 conversions and a penalty for a personal contribution of 20 points in this match. Spectators, according to Gabriel David, left the field convinced that Williams defeated the SA Country districts team on his own.

Gabriel David was of the opinion that the mopped-up SA Country district team never had a chance against a well drilled All Black pack especially when by the direction of the South African Rugby Board, Visagie, Ellis, Bates and Mannetjies Roux were removed from the Country District team. 

Terry McLean in his book (Battling the Boks) wrote this about the team that eventually played for the Country Districts: 

Fact is that all of the Country District’s team except Meiring on the left wing had already played against the All Blacks. In theory this team should have been hot stuff –despite the above mentioned omissions- especially in the forwards, who nicely blended size, speed and experience.  

Daan Ackerman (Springbok trialist) and Jannie van Aswegen (Junior Springbok) the locks had been a considerable success for Western Transvaal and Griqualand West respectively, Piet van Deventer had been as slick as a chick off the Griquas’ backrow and, of course, Lofty Nel with his height had played a decisive part in the fine play of Western Transvaal in the back of the lineout.  

It was to admitted that Niewoudt, of Boland wasn’t the best flyhalf in the world, but hadn’t Dirkie de Vos (Ex Springbok – No9), a great little character and superbly brilliant kicker, rocked the All Blacks for most of their very trying day against Western Transvaal by the length, height and accuracy of his kicking? 

The two Boland props (van der Merwe and O’Kennedy) were also instrumental in the Boland match when they out scrummed the All Blacks. 

The full Country District team was: D Visser (Boland); K Meiring (Far Northern Transvaal); F Cato (Western Transvaal); I Schaap (Western Transvaal);  N Smith (South West Africa); H Niewoudt (Boland); D de Vos (Western Transvaal); M Jennings (Boland, Capt); Lofty Nel (Western Transvaal); J Van Aswegen (Griqualand West); D Ackerman (Western Transvaal); Piet van Deventer (Griqualand West); D van der Merwe (Boland); R Mundell (Rhodesia); J O’Kennedy  (Boland).  

 

Jannie van Aswegen the Griqualand West lock forward pictured here with his Gazelle jumper when he was selected as Captain of a Junior Springbok team that went touring to Argentina; he never played for the Springboks. 

Gaselle team to Argentina led by Jannie van Aswegen. Whether the team ever went on tour and how they fared, I don’t know. 

The All Black team fro this match can be seen here. 

Terry McLean writes as follows about this match: 

Someone of orthodox mind –was it Professor Daan Swiegers, the Springbok selector?- had taken over the country team so firmly that de Vos, a truly original mind, had been turned from a kicking into a passing halfback. It was rather sad to see Dirkie so hamstrung. 

Urlich scoring for the All Blacks agains Country Districts with Dirk de Vos trying to stop him. 

Laidlaw was tactically brilliant behind a pack that played like a well oiled machine. The All Blacks demolished the Country Districts team and scored 10 tries of which 6 was converted. All Blacks who scored in this match were Davis, Williams (3), Milner, Urlich (2), Holmes, Smith, MacRae. McCormick kicked two conversions and Williams four as well as a penalty goal. 

Had not McCormick struggled so much with his place kicking -being successful with only two out of 5 kicks- the All Blacks could have won with a much larger margin than the 45 points they accumulated. It was in the fiftieth minute, or thereabouts, that Lochore whistled up Williams to take the kicks, writes Terry McLean

McLean continues his narrative on Williams kicking as follows: 

In his practice kicking, the Wizard of Ponsonby had been walking back five, seven, sometimes eight steps and his timing had not been good. Thinking things out for himself, he had decided to reduce his approach run to four steps. Williams missed the first attempt, to a try by Holmes. He missed another, an attempt at a penalty from 55 yards. And then, in five shots, he hit the target five times. Beautiful kicking. Solid as a rock. 

Van Deventer (Flanker) scored a try for the Country District team which Visser (No15) converted. Visser also kicked a penalty. 

Piet van Deventer 

Dr. Craven made a dramatic and at times emotional speech at the post match reception in which he asked the media to stop writing that the third test will be a blood bath. Gabriel David wrote: 

"Please do not strain the good relations between rugby South Africa and New Zealand," he pleaded. He pointed out that an incident lasting five seconds (Nomis/McCormick incident) had been blown out of all proportion. 

  

Craven went on and stated that he thinks McCormick were wrongly portrayed by the media as an nasty and aggressive rugby player and that he would welcome McCormick any day with open arms at Stellenbosch University (Maties) if he would which to play for Maties. 

From East London the All Blacks travelled to Durban for their match against Natal. 

 

22 August 1970: All Blacks 29 / Natal 8. 

Two stories –one before the match and one after the match that somehow got intertwined- dominated the media reports of the Natal game. The first story was the fact that the All Blacks was absolutely crazy about Durban and some players have made comments such as: We'll play the rest of the games here if we had a choice. 

The media was wondering why the All Blacks were playing only one match in Durban. After the match Tommy Bedford provided them with an answer which raised a few eyebrows and which many believed cost him his place in the Springboks team announced the following morning. Lofty Nel was brought back –after having last played for the Springboks in 1965 and despite a relatively weak performance for Country Districts earlier that week- on No8 in the place of the injured Albie Bates. This was a shocking choice as Bedford –a previous Springbok captain- was not only in sterling form against the All Blacks for Natal but was also regarded by many as the best No8 in the country. The speculation was that his post match speech was the reason for his non selection and specifically his statement that Durban did not receive more All Black matches because Natal was seen by the Afrikaner government as the “the last outpost of the British empire”.  

Two Ex-New Zealanders played for Natal in this match, namely Terry Mehrtens (Andrew Mehrtens’ father who was a former Canterbury and junior All Black flyhalf) played fullback for Natal and Peter Hatchwell (former Wellington wing) on the wing. Hatchwell, according to one newspaper predicted that Natal was going to win. 

The Natal team who played in this match were: Terry Mehrtens; Hannes Viljoen; PK Hatchwell; R Greyling; Tubby Hannaford; RM Seymour; CR Holm; Tommy Bedford (Captain); PC de Jager; CC Dannhauser; MC Janse van Rensburg; RS Steyn; DV Hooper; K Parkinson; FP Jackson. 

The All Black team for this match can be seen here

There was no doubt among Durban sports journalists that the AB should win this match. 

The AB won fairly easily at the end, but did not impress as a team; they were unorganised; made many unforced and basic errors and were untidy in execution of primary tasks. Kirton was unsure at 10, and Laidlaw did everything but being his normal precise and calculative self. Sutherland, Lister and Meads were slow at the breakdowns and Thorne the All Blacks primary playmaker was slow, lethargic and had an uncharacteristically lazy day. Sounds almost as if they had too much of a good time in the "Last outpost" and forgot they were there to play rugby. The team, however, was good enough to regain focus and dominate play in the second half to such and extend that the record books shows a score line that suggest an easy win. 

Lofty Nel who were brought in ahead of Tommy Bedford to play eightman for the Springboks in the third test 

Hannes Viljoen and Tommy Bedford were outstanding for Natal. Viljoen, according to David scored the best two tries to date by an opposition player against the AB. Bedford played a game that must have shaken the SA selectors, according to Gabriel David. 

Tommy Bedford who had an outstanding game for Natal against the 1970 All Blacks. Bedford played a total of 25 tests for South Africa. He played in four tests against the British home unions during the 69/70 end year tour but made himself very unpopular with a notorious speech in which he stated that Natal was seen by the Afrikaners as "The last outpost of the British Empire". Bedford played his last two tests for the Springboks in 1971 against France.

 

Hannes Viljoen left the All Blacks for dead and ran in two brilliant tries for Natal. Viljoen played in three tests for South Africa against Australia during the 1971 unbeaten tour. He scored two test tries on tour but overall something like 16 tries in 10 matches. 

This is how Gabriel David describes the two Hannes Viljoen tries: 

The best try of the match came when Greyling, a strongly-built centre, switched the attack to the left wing and gave Viljoen the overlap. The tall winger streaked down the line for a rewarding 40-yard run. Hannaford converted for Natal. 

In the 32 minute Viljoen again got the overlap and again outpaced everyone with another 40-yard dash and scored in the corner. 

 

Tubby Hannaford played for Natal on centre he was also the kicker; converting one of the two Hannes Viljoen tries. 

The try scores for the All Blacks were Davis (3), Lister and Milner. Kember converted 4 of the 5 tries and Laidlaw kicked a drop goal. 

Viljoen scored two tries for Natal of which one was converted by Hannaford. 

Milner scoring against Natal

Earl Kirton against Natal. One of the biggest mistakes the All Blacks made on the 1970 tour was dropping Kirton out of the test side 

Natal scrumhalf Poenie Holm sending his backline away with Laidlaw to late to intervere 

About Tommy Bedford not being selected for the Springbok team for the third test Gabriel David has the following: 

How those Durban papers yelped at the omission of Bedford and I must say that they had just cause. Bedford is a far more constructive No8 than Nel whose main asset is his ability to capture the ball at the end of the lineouts. Will the Springbok selectors rue their shock choice? The All Blacks sincerely trust so. 

Cape Town was the next destination for a game against a Combined Southern University team.

25 August, 1970: All Black 20 / Southern Universities 3. 

By direction of the South African Rugby Board Ian McCallum and Gert Muller were removed from the Southern University team to play the All Blacks. Ian McCallum could well have made the difference as Jaekel the Maties fullback landed only 1 of six very kickable downwind penalties. However both McCallum and Muller were left out as a consequence of the wrangling between the two selection committees, University of Cape Town and University of Stellenbosch. Maties end up with 12 of the 15 players. 

The University team had quite a formidable side even though consisting of mostly Maties. The team were: O Jaekel; Andy van der Walt; Johan Walters; Johann van der Merwe; Jannie Engelbrecht (Captain); Dawie Snyman; François de Villiers; Piet le Roux; John le Roux; G Watt; Frik Burger; J Coetzee; Rampie Stander; S van Straten; Derek van den Berg.

Johann van der Merwe the one centre played for the Springboks in one test on the 69/70 end-year-tour); Johan Walters the WP centre was an outstanding player -both McLean and Gabriel David absolutely raved about him; the wings were both former Springboks namely Andy van der Watt and Jannie Engelbrecht. Dawie Snyman –not a Springbok yet but soon to be- was on flyhalf; the two props R Stander and D van den Berg could have been Rampie Stander and Derek van den Berg both later become Springboks. The J Coetzee on the flank was in all probability Jan Boland Coetzee. 

Springboks who played for the Southern universities team against the 1970 All Blacks

 

Johann van der Merwe the Maties centre who played one test on the 69/70  demonstrator tour

  

Andy van der Watt who played in four tests for the Springboks (69/70 tour) was an athlete and according to Chris Greyvenstein -Springbok saga- the fastest wing who ever played for the Springboks

 

Jannie Engelbrecht was past his best. He played in August 1969 his 33rd and final test for the Springboks against Australia. Desperate defending by Kember prevented a flying Engelbrecht from scoring a certain try in this match

 

Dawie Snyman played flyhalf for the Southern Universities. In 1971, he was selected in a very controversial manner above Hugh Bladen -who was brilliant during the Springbok trials- for the Springbok team touring to Australia despite the fact that he at that stage had not played a single match for the WP.

 

Rampie Stander (1974-76); 5 tests

 

Derek van den Berg (1975-76); 4 tests

 

Jan Boland Coetzee (1974-76); 6 tests

Stander, van den Berg and Coetzee were certainly old enough to could have played for the Southern Universities in 1970 and all three have Cape town connections –being born there or went to school in the Cape. Van den Berg later played for Natal while Stander played for Orange Free State.

The All Black team who played in this match can be seen here

About this game David writes: 

... a well-drilled Southern Universities' side rocked the All Blacks for a good part of this match at Newlands today. For the first time on tour, including the tests, the All Blacks had to concede lineout possession while the students showed some fine attacking flairs in the backline that made the opposition look fairly mediocre. Fortuitously, the All Black forwards dominated the second phase play and control in this department saved the day. 

The universities team certainly gave the All Blacks stiff opposition and Terry McLean has the following to say about individual performances: 

When Jannie Engelbrecht was named captain of Southern Universities team, citizens clapped hands to brows and asked what the world was coming to when Universities’ teams had to be led by Methuselah’s.  Methuselah my foot. Jannie ran like the wind himself. His form was nearly as good as it had ever been. What was more, he was now capable of holding passes, an elementary feat which had always tended to trouble him in his palmy days. What was more, his mana, his prestige, his vast experience, had communicated totally to the universities’ players. From the moment of kick-off, these were no small boys in short pants. These were student princes, every one of’em. 

Burger at 3 in the lineout gave the All Blacks the licking of their lives. Coetzee ran out of steam towards the finish –little wonder, considering that he ran 20,000 meters at 1 500-metre time- bit in partnership with the Rouxs, Peet and John, who was not related, he sailed into Going, Furlong and Cottrell as if borne by the breeze at its blowsiest. De Villiers the tine halfback, was smartness personified and Walters in midfield played in such a way that one wondered at the sanity of the Springbok selectors in overlooking him. 

David makes the following observations about the game: 

Two tries in the first half when the tourists were battling into the gale force wind were the commendable features of the game and after leading 11-3 at the interval it looked as though the All Blacks would run up another handsome victory. But the Universities' team tightened its foreward drive, played with economic initiative in the backs and only splendid goal kicking by Kember made the winning margin respectable. 

The ground was soft with pools of water dotted about and one would have thought that such conditions would be relished by the New Zealanders. In point of fact, the All Blacks appeared bogged down and never really got into stride. 

Danie Craven's unwillingness, as president of SA Rugby and as a representative of Stellenbosch University -who had 12 players on the team- to attent the after match reception left the impression with the AB-team that he was a little sour about the result. This perception was confirmed when the bus driver remarked that he overheard Craven saying in Afrikaans: "You can’t beat 16 men". 

All Blacks 20 points (tries Urlich, Davis and Going; conversation Kember, penalties Kember 3). Southern Combined Universities 3 points (penalty Jaekel). 

 

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