All Blacks 28 / Border 3
Shortly after arrival in East London the All Blacks had their first practice session. They struggled with heat and the bounce of the ball.
Notice in this picture the sweat on Lochore's shirt (players from right to left on this picture are Sutherland, Smith, Meads, Hunter, Kember, Lochore and MacRae). Notice also the plaster on Lochore left arm. Lochore broke a bone in his hand in one of the warm-up matches in Australia and couldn't play in the first few matches in South Africa.
In this picture Gerald Kember is emptying a cup of water in his face while MacRae is dumping the water over his head.
Fergi McCormick had heaps of trouble with his place kicking on the harder South African grounds.
The forwards had a hard training session and it was clear just looking at them going through their drills on the practice ground that the Kiwi’s had better structure, cohesiveness and teamwork when they took the ball into contact. Notice in this picture the body positions, the eyes on the ball and the close proximity of the 5 players (Meads, Hopkinson, Sutherland, Holmes and McLeod) as they take the ball into contact. This superior teamwork and focus at the contact points/rucks proved to be a decisive difference between the All Blacks and most of the provincial sides.
Basil Kenyon the Springbok captain in the fourth test against the 1949 All Blacks also showed up at the practice. Here he is having a word with Brain Lochore. It was after Kenyon’s Border side have beaten the 1949 All Blacks once and drawn against them in a second encounter that the Springbok selectors decided to drop Felix du Plessis as Springbok captain and replace him with Basil Kenyon.
The All Blacks decided to take no changes for the first match -probably understandable considering the 1949 results against Border- and selected with the exception of three players a test combination for the match against Border. The All Black front row for the match against the Border team can be seen above. From right to left Keith Murdoch, Bruce McLeod and Alister Hopkinson. In the back the face of flank forward Tom Lister can also be seen.
The two teams who played in this match can be seen in the table below.
All Blacks Border McCormick 15 Carlson Dick 14 Dickson Thorne 13 Pennyfeather Hunter 12 Steward MacRae 11 Van de Venter Cottrell 10 Gerber Going 9 Gendall Sutherland 8 Bryant Lister 7 Els Holmes 6 Venter Meads (Captain) 5 Chrisholm Strahan 4 Goosen Hopkinson 3 Kretzman McLeod 2 Wiggil Murdoch 1 Vos Referee: K Weyers
Van de Venter
Referee: K Weyers
Here are some visuals from the first match. In this group of pictures on the left Colin Meads who captained the side against Border. On the right Alan Sutherland and the bottom picture shows Tom Lister getting tackled but the ball is already in the hands of Bryan Williams on the wing.
Sid Going was targeted by the Border team and took him awhile to get going so to speak. On this pictures also a visual of the first try of the tour scored by Tom Lister.
The AB's were a little rusty and even "scrappy" for the first 57 minutes of the match, after which they noticeably clicked and started to play like a team; the forwards and backs combined splendidly to score 7 tries. McCormick struggled with his place kicking and could add only two conversions and one penalty.
The game will mainly be remembered for a brilliant try scored by Colin Meads in the 80th minute. Thorne started it when he broke brilliantly, side-stepping, jinking his way through the opposition before handing it to Meads who set-off like a wing next to the sideline with Thorne on his inside calling for the ball as the cross defence closed in. The opposition angled in on Thorne fully expecting him to receive the ball. Meads holding the ball in one hand made a one-handed dummy pass fooling everyone and slipped on the outside past the cross defence. Near the corner he in-and-out and then swerved like a classy winger past another cross defender before crossing the try line and running up behind the goal line to score under the cross bar.
Colin Meads turning behind the try line on his way to score a stunning try against Border
The Border captain and fullback for this match was Ray Carlson who would become a Springbok in 1972 playing for the Springboks in one test against John Pullin’s English team
Ray Carlson with his Springbok jersey in 1972. He was the Border fullback and captain against the 1970 AB.
From East London the AB's travelled to Bethlehem where they played their second tour match. Here they were warmly welcomed and had their first experience of a typical South African braai. The highlight of the evening was Min Shaw who was brought in from Johannesburg to sing for the AB's.
Picture of Min Shaw and Graeme Thorne singing together in Bethlehem. Thorne impressed everyone with his singing. Collin Meads slipped into the crowd when he saw Min Shaw is going to pick an All Black to sing with her and his only comment afterwards: "She can be glad she picked an All Black who knew the words".
All Blacks 43 / Paul Roos XV 9
The AB's scored 9 tries in the match and it was the game where the South African public first became aware of the brilliant "baby" of the team, Bryan Williams.
Bryan Williams at his brilliant best in 1970
Williams, Wylie and Thorne all scored two tries with McCormick and Muller also contributing with one try each. McCormick missed with two fairly simple penalty attempts and four conversions leaving the NZ camp with obvious concern about McCormick's place kicking.
Above are some pictures of the All Blacks visit to Bethelem.
The two teams who played in this match.
Paul Roos XV
D van den Berg
J van Deventer
D du Randt
T Dannhouser (Captain)
Referee: Piet Robbertse
This match had the danger lights flickering for the South African rugby critics; it was abundantly clear for everyone that this was an outstanding All Black rugby team. David writes as follows about the contest:
.... The All Blacks did not play to their full capacity for (the full) 80 minutes of this match but showed tremendous capacity..... We saw some of the most imaginative yet sound constructively attacking movements in the history of All Black rugby. The sudden change of thrust from one side to the other was incredible. Some of the tries were masterpieces. The tight, disciplined drive of the forwards was complemented by the rare mood of the attacking backs.
According to David it was clear for the New Zealanders that South Africa rugby was kick obsessed and terminally ill in terms of ability to play phase rugby. He writes as follows about the President XV:
The Paul Roos XV had a great kicker in their flyhalf Froneman but that's all he did on the day. His outside backs must have wondered if they were unemployed for the match.
Terry McLean had the following on the Paul Roos XV:
Paul Roos XV was, bluntly, a nothing team. Dannhauser and Fourie had good stances as locks in the scrummage. Lyell at No 8 had bags of pace which he used much too little and Burger, a hooker of some note, took a heel from Urlich, though he lost five in the process. But behind the scrum Froneman was an obsessive kicker and Kotze at fullback defended principally by making meaningful gestures from a distance. Once the Border team had won possession, which was seldom, the All Blacks had no worries-McCormick knew he had to run and catch and the All Blacks knew they could wait until the ball was put back into touch.
I get heart burn (sooibrand) just reading remarks like this; it has always been one of the most irritating and frustrating things for me about South African rugby. As a provincial player you get one opportunity in your life to play against an international team so why would you waste the opportunity by constantly kicking the ball away. Secondly, it totally eludes me why selectors would pick individuals for a team if that individual does nothing else than kicking. If you want to kick a ball go play soccer.
After this match the AB's travelled to Kimberley for their third tour match against Griqualand West.
All Blacks 27 / Griqualand West 3
This was a game that the AB's wanted to win at all cost; it was seen by the AB's as a unofficial test match. Griqualand West had an unbeaten record against the provincial teams in South Africa for the last 7 years (probably at their home ground) and was seen as the third best provincial side in SA.
Griquas surely had an outstanding team with several Springboks and future Springboks in the team. Players like Mannetjies Roux, Piet Visage, Joggie Viljoen, Piet van Deventer and Jannie van Aswegen; this team were also the winners of the Currie Cup in 1970.
L van der Merwe
P van Deventer
Jannie van Aswegen (Captain)
Referee: B Wooley
The Griqualand West team who won the Currie Cup in 1970. Except for two players this was the exact team who played against the 1970 All Blacks.
Players on the picture are from left to right. Before: Piet Visagie, Charlie Marias (President Griqualand West Union), Mannetjies Roux (captain), Ian Kirkpatrick (coach), Denys Vorster (o / Capt). Middle row: David Waldeck, Buddy Swartz, Piet van Deventer, Peet Smith, Tos Smith, James Combrinck and Joggie Viljoen. Rear: Braam Fourie, Jannie van Aswegen Gert Scheepers and Soon Nel. Kat Myburg was absent when the photo was taken.
David writes as follows about the contest:
We need not have worried. The All Blacks in the second spell of this game played some of the greatest rugby I have witnessed. The triumph of the match was the awesome power of the forwards. They surged, rucked, scrummaged and set up secondary play as a tight, closely-knit unit. The percentage of possession to the All Blacks were astonishing - about 90 percent. And the tourists always did something with the ball. It was constructive, controlled rugby. Nothing more, nothing less.
The backs were opposed by some of the best defence one could imagine in the first half but after constant hammering this ultimately crumbled. Then four glorious tries were posted on the board each bearing the hallmark of team effort. Colin Meads has become indefinable. He showed today that he is emphatically the greatest forward in world rugby.
About Griquas he wrote simply that Piet Visagie kicked the 10 percent possession they had, away.
New Zealand scored a total of 6 tries, 3 of which McCormick converted. There was hope that the problem with McCormick’s place kicking was also sorted when the coach -during the lead up to the match- recommended that he follow the example of the South African kickers and place the ball on a pile of sand rather than directly in the grass. McCormick tried it and there was some marked improvement in accuracy.
Piet Visagie in his Griqualand-west jumper
Clearly the concept phase rugby, namely to maintain and protect your possession had not yet taken hold in South Africa and was not understood by the Griqualand-west team. It also seems that phase rugby was already high priority in NZ in 1970 while the South Africans apparently were not even thinking along those lines.
Some images form the match against Griqualand West
The tempers flared in the Kimberley heat. These picture shows Ron Urlich and a Griqua player being forcefully pushed apart during a skirmish off the the ball by the referee. The bottom picture shows Urlich leaving the field with his ear almost ripped off by a boot in a ruck. One can't help but wonder whether the two incidents are related to each other.
The game against Griqualand-west will also be remembered for one of the ugliest incidents during the entire tour. It happened after the game when there were racial riots consisting of fighting and bottle throwing. It apparently originated after one of the coloureds tried to chair Bryan Williams on his shoulders from the field. A white police constable clubbed the coloured who fell to the ground; another white man then started kicking the coloured while he was lying helplessly on the ground. A second coloured the entered the scuffle by hitting -an unforgivable act for a black or coloured man at the time- the the white man who did the kicking. That was the spark that started the chain reaction of racial rioting and hateful violence.
Gabriel David, however had a slightly different take on this, he writes:
...I consider that the All Blacks caused the situation - simply by handing out such a thrashing to the locals. The white population did not like that, and the drunken element - of which there was a substantial crowd - needed only the flimsiest excuse to show their disappointment.