The McLook rugby collection

A personal collection that tells the story of Springbok rugby

North Auckland, Auckland and Marlborough

The Springboks next three matches were against North Auckland, Auckland and a combined team of Nelson /Marlborough /Golden Bay-Motueka.

The game against North Auckland was palyed in Whangarei probably one of the most scenic and best small-boat cruising areas in the world. Terry McLean put it as follows:

It was a perfect flight from Hamilton to Whangarei, especially from Auckland northward along the coast, over the bounteous beaches and islands of the fairyland that is the Hauraki Gulf. I freely sold this as the greatest small-boat cruising ground in the world and the Afrikaners living a thousand miles from the seas warmly agreed with me that it probably was. As it is. August 11, 1965 - South Africa 14 / North Auckland 11  

North Auckland had a good season in 1965 and have beaten Auckland twice that year.

 The Springboks consequently selected a team with 13 test players for this match.   

The Springboks playing in this game were: Wilson, Engelbrecht, Gainsford, Roux, Brynard; Oxlee; Smith (Captain), Nel; Ellis, Goosen, Du Preez; Schoeman, Macdonald, Malan, Van Zyl.   

The only All Black in the North Auckland team was the captain Des Webb (No2) but the Going brothers (Sid and Ken) would later get All Black caps as well; Sid Going was at scrumhalf and his brother Ken at fullback. Mariamora Haddon (No8) and Sid Going were Maori represeantatives; Hewitt (no 7), Hull (no5) and Panther (No14) was All Black trials players. 

The field was in excellent condition but heavy rain fell during the match - attended by some 20 000 spectators. It was a torrid enciounter marred by fighting, late tackles, and obstruction.

Terry McLean writes as follows about the game:  

It has happened here before. Rough rugby. Punches, kicks, late charges punctuated the battle of Okara Park this afternoon which the Springboks won by 14 to 11 nine minutes from no-side after building-UP a lead of 11 to nil in the first 20 minutes. No one came out of the affair particularly well.

About the time -13 minutes into the game- that Oxlee kicked a penalty from 35 yards a bit of a party was staged in the front row, van Zyl and Cook being the principal celebrants. Engelbrecht was clipped over the ear by Mr. Kirk for a misdemeanor while chasing a long kick. Macdonald, a quiet man, stamped back with his foot at someone on the ground after breaking clear of a lineout maul. Goosen, making splendid catches at No3 in the lineout, was turned turtle and crashed down upon his back.

No Rugby tourists are angels. On the other hand, the Springboks’ matches so far have been clean, the team has a good reputation among New Zealanders. Out of tension, out of being wound up too tight, out of some obscure cause not unrelated to other displays of rugged Rugby by North Auckland teams, it could be presumed that the trouble was of North Auckland making. It might have stopped at that. Unhappily Mr. Kirk neither exerted a stern authority nor took care to control the jersey-pulling, getting into the wrong side of the ruck and other illegalities which helped to promote temper.

Each team was blameworthy and each guilty of the grossest act of Rugby, the kicking of a man on the ground, Goosen lost half an incisor tooth, the right side of his face was numbed, he was savagely booted in the back, all from kicks. Thompson was planted by a South African boot in an aimed shot. If this is Rugby, the hell with it.

Jan Ellis avoiding a wild swinging punch thrown by Lou Cook (No1) in the North Auckland match. 

The Springboks established an early 11-0 lead and it was not until five minutes before half time that North Auckland was able to put some points on the score board with a penalty.  

Oxlee kicked a penalty after 3 minutes and another 10 minutes later. After 20 minutes of play, in the first half, Brynard scored when he chased after a ball that was kicked through and fell on it in the ingoal area.  

Shortly hereafter, North Auckland's disruptive tactics (read dirty play) started to increase in severity with a linear correlation between the foul play and the extent to which they accumulated points on the scoreboard. 

After 11 minutes in the second half Haddon(No8) was posted to the backline and slipped through for a try when the ball was send down the backline after a scrum. With 15 minutes left on the clock Going launched a high box kick for the forwards to chase and Webb (NO2) eventually fell on the ball for the home teams second try. The scores were even when Thompson missed with the conversion. 

Four minutes later Gainsford burst through the defence for an excellent try after a scissors move with Oxlee. That brought the final score on 14-11 when Oxlee was unable to convert the try. 

McLean described Gainsford's try as follows:  

And then came the great moment of the game when at a scrum about 20 yards from the North Auckland goal Smith sent on to Oxlee, who ran wide toward the open field. Coming up on Oxlee’s right and next door to the scrum, Gainsford, moving at tremendous speed, took a backhanded scissors pass and by sheer speed and a bit of a sidestep went past two, three, four, five men before diving over at the corner for the winning try. This was real Rugby which, if the teams had been willing, could have been played, rain or no rain, for most of the game.

Gainsford score the winning try against North Auckland.  

The Springbok loose forwards -particularly Nel and Ellis- overshadowed their direct opponents and Goosen and Du Preez were outstanding at lock; Malan hooked 5 heals aginst the head. In the backline, the acclaimed Sid Going compared unfavourably with Nellie Smith who had a good match, and Roux, Gainsford and Oxlee looked like true internationals. The game is also remembered for a a sickening Jan Ellis tackle on Ken Going (Sid's brother). It took awhile but Ken got up and completed the game.

August 14, 1965 - South Africa 14 / Auckland 15

Auckland was a team under emence pressure with the advent of the game having lost five games already that season. A comment by Robert Sorenson, their coach, that they are weary/blunt and in need of special exercises to overcome their fatigue made them the joke of the New Zealand rugby public. 

Terry McLean wrote:  

Players from other places took much pleasure in this report. At every meeting with Auckland players, they asked, straight-faced, solemn questions. Did it hurt much, having to play Rugby? What was it like, being wrapped in cotton-wool? Was it true Bob Sorenson personally put nappies on them before sending them off to bed?

These were not taunts the Aucklanders treasured. Nor were they happy when Sorenson ordered that they must train instead of going with him to watch the Springboks play North Auckland. That practice, on Wednesday, was pretty sour. Everyone was a bit sharp with everyone else when they practiced a special play they thought might confuse the ‘Boks.

Everyone was still a bit sharp with everyone else when they assembled for the match against the Springboks.

The poor performances of the Auckland team (3 wins out of 8 games) was difficult to explain considering the quality players in the team. The whole backline was All Blacks except Teroi Tatuarangi (No13-wing) and there were three All Blacks (Keith Nelson, No. 7; Wilson Whineray, No1, Barry Thomas, No3) amongst the forwards. 

 

The Springbok team consisted of: Wilson, Mans, Gainsford, Roux, Brynard; Oxlee, de Villiers, Hopwood, Ellis, Naude, du Preez; Nel, Marais, Malan, Van Zyl.  

A large crowd of 51 000 packed the stands at Eden Park for what turned up to be a tense and exciting game. Auckland eventually won with one point after the Springboks played for 43 minutes with 14 men when de Villiers was carried of the field with concussion. The injury to de Villiers brought out the best from the Springboks and except for some spastic moments, that cost them the game, they played really well. Brynard was dispatched to scrumhalf and Ellis moved to wing and with only 7 men in the pack Marais and Malan van Zyl in the frontrow and the rest of the Springbok scrum did not take one backward step for the Auckland scrum. Malan hooked the only tighthead and du Preez and Naude performed well in the lineouts and the tight loose.  

McLean writes:  

It was a terrible plight for the Springboks when de Villiers left the field reducing them to 14 men for the rest of the game. They were not cast down. For most of the second half, for all but spasmodic touchés of the 29 minute which succeeded the last score, their forwards were in command, their backs kept attacking and attacking. Playing splendidly.

Brynard’s service from the scrum was an encouragement to his outsides. Gainsford made one break which was ruined when Mans knocked on.

Ellis had a run in a movement in which Mans was injured, in which, as was later discovered he dislocated his right shoulder.

Gainsford had another spectacular run but was forced over the sideline literally on the goal line. Roux was held just short of the line when Malan won a tight head.

Mans missed with a dropgoal and right at the end with a 40 yard penalty which would have won the game for South Africa. The game ended with Davies (No15) being flattened and knocked unconscious by Mannetjies Roux with a late tackle.

Dawie de Villiers charging onto Mack Herewini (No10) in the match against Auckland. That was before de Villiers left the field in the 37th minute with concussion.

The Springboks lost the match, said McLean because of tactical errors. Firstly, Nel, Hopwood and Ellis (in the first half before he moved to the wing) did not put enough pressure on the Auckland scrumhalf Conner. Secondly, Oxlee and Mans missed easy penalties at crucial times and thirdly Roux was too individualistic and disruptive on attack and subsequently the Springboks dangerous backline were unable to perform to their true potential.  

The Springboks protested loudly when the referee allowed Auckland's last try, the feeling was that Rangi (outside center) made a double movement in process of scoring the try when he fell short of the goal line after being ankle tabbed by Ellis. For the Springboks Brynard scored in the eleventh minute, after a 90-meter run, when Roux picked up a loose bal and put Brynard in space; Mans scored in the fifteenth minute after a quick throw-in at a lineout. Brynard scored his second try right at the end with a dummy pass and a quick sharp break round a scrum on the Auckland goal line. Oxlee was successful with one conversion and Naude with a penalty. For Auckland, Dick (No14), Rangi (No12-two tries) and McKay (No13) scored. Davies, the fullback kicked a penalty. 

Winger M Dick, having flashed along the side-line after a kick ahead by Connor, easily beats Lofty Nel to the line to score. De Villiers and Keith Oxlee are the other two Springboks in the picture.

Jan Ellis and Lofty Nel lining-up the the Auckland Captain Bob Graham.

August 17, 1965 - South Africa 45 / Nelson Combines 6 

The Springboks travelled back to the South Island for their next match against a combined team of Nelson, Marlborough and Golden Bay-Motueka. 

Pictures of the Nelson, Marlborough en Golden Bay-Motueka region

 

 

 

 

There was some unhappiness in the Nelson, Marlborough and Golden Bay-Motueka region about team selection when the sole selector (Jim Finlay), a Marlburian, picked 11 players from Marlborough. Phil Clarke and a young Alan Sutherland were, however, two future All Blacks who played for the combined team against the 1965 Springboks. Sutherland's older brother also played for the combined team. 

The Springbok team for this match was: Wilson; Engelbrecht; Brynard; Roux; Truter; Oxlee; Smith (Captain); Slabber; Ellis; Goosen, Botha; Janson, Marais, Walton, Parker.  

In the run up to the match there was a journalistic uproar caused by an article in the Johannesburg Sunday Times which stated that the Springboks was engulfed in a race debacle as a result of the game against North Auckland. According to the article the feeling in New Zealand was that the Springboks “got stuck into the Maori" for racist reasons, and there were rumors of racist remarks between players during the game. The Springboks made the whole story off as utter nonsense, and the New Zealanders saw it for what it was namely journalistic opportunism. 

Amidst it all, John Gainsford revealed an amusing but poignant incident that uncovered the the racist rumors as inconsistent with the deeper spirit in which the game was played. The Gainsford incident is presented as follows by Terry McLean: 

Gainsford had a superb story from the match with North Auckland. During the second half, he was felled in a tackle and forwards by the dozen arrived on the scène with thundering hooves. As an old hand, Gainsford was well and truly conscious of the possibility that his head might be mistaken for the ball. But he had his arm trapped and so could do little to protect himself. Suddenly, he heard a voice saying urgently, “Put your head in here, my boy,” and a friendly blue-and-white arm whose owner Gainsford would probably never know, curled protectively around his head. Gainsford laughed as if it was all a joke, but underneath I suspect that he was deeply touched.

From the Final score -considering that a try was worth only three points- and taking into account the 10 tries that the Springboks scored the impression is created that it was one way traffic. The home team was however able to limit the half time score to 14-3 and Alan Sutherland, Clarke (No14) and O'Brein (No10) had outstanding matches. The home defended like deamons and the sum total of it all was that the Springboks could simply not get their machine goiung in the first half. 

In the second half with the wind in their backs the Springboks had teritorial advantage and started running in the tries; eventually the damwall broke. Ellis, Engelbrecht both scored 3 tries and there were four more tries by respectively Brynard, Truter, Oxlee and Slabber.

Jan Ellis scoring one of his three tries in this match  

Jan Ellis once again had an outstanding match and secured his place in the test team with a dynamic display on attack and defense as well as a high work rate in the thight loose. 

Jan Ellis steaming down the touch line for one of his three tries in this match in Blenheim. In the back Springbok winger Trix Truter struggles to keep-up with the flying flanker.

Terry Mclean concludes his piece on this game with the following remark:

One sometimes find that matches played by touring teams in smaller centers of New Zealand are more enjoyable and contain beter football than the big-time events of the big-time places and this was the sort of game today which sent everyone home happy. 

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