The All Blacks next match was against a combined Transvaal Country XV which included players from three provincial unions –South Eastern Transvaal, Far North and Rhodesia.
This was the first time an All Black touring side did not play against Rhodesia. Both the 1949 and 1960 All Black sides in fact played against two Rhodesian sides namely against a “Southern” Rhodesian and “Northern/Central” Rhodesian side.
The 1949 side played their first match in Bulawayo and lost 8-10. Five days later they played a second match in Salisbury which they drew 3 all.
Rhodesian rugby must have been something in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Rhodesia produced 8 Springboks over the years namely Ryk van Schoor, Salty du Rand, Andy MacDonald (read how Andy fought a lion with his bare hands and survived here), Des van Jaarsvledt, Ronnie Hill, Ian Robertson, Ray Mordt, and David Smith.
Rhodesian Springboks of 1949 and 1960
Ryk van Schoor (1949-1953); 12 tests; 2 tries
Salty du Rand (1949-1956); 21 tests; 4 tries
Des van Jaarsveldt (1960); 1 test
Ronnie Hill (1960-1963); 7 tests
The 1960 All Blacks played against a Rhodesian XV in Kitwe and then 4 days later against Rhodesia in Salisbury. They won both matches (13-9 and 29-14). These two touring sides (1949 and 1960) as well as the 1970 side (whose match against Rhodesia can be read here) enjoyed the trip to Rhodesia enormously and Alan Sutherland made a point in his after match speech to mention that the trip to Rhodesia was one of the highlights of the 1970 tour.
The regular match against Rhodesia was no doubt cancelled because of the terrorist activities going on in Rhodesia in 1976.
At the time this match was played I was actually in Rhodesia on a hunting trip with my father and brother. It was my dad’s longstanding dream to shoot a buffalo and in 1976 he realized this dream after rebuilding a Landrover -all on his own with the help of my brother- after work in our backyard in Zeerust.
Pictures of that Landrover and the Buffalo can be seen below. It was a magical experience which I wrote about on another blog relating the tension and fear of terrorist attacks we experienced on the heavily targeted road between Beitbrug and Fort Victoria. We missed the armed convoy and had to drive all the way to Fort Victoria by ourselves armed with only hunting rifles in a stuttering Landrover; we fixed the problem later but on that particular stretch a dirty oil filter produced lots of anxiety.
The Rhodesian Ian Robertson who played in the first and second test (and later in the fourth test) withdrew but the Country team fielded three other Rhodesians namely the fleet-footed winger Danny Delport who made quite an impression, the centre John Harris and the hooker Richard McKenna. Two ex-Springboks namely Polla Fourie and Johan Spies also played for the Transvaal Country XV. Johan Spies of course played in all four tests against the 1970 All Blacks while Polla Fourie –the brother of Ex-Springbok winger Carel Fourie- played in one test against the 1974 British and Irish Lions.
Polla Fourie Ex-Springbok flanker who played for the Transvaal Country XV.
It was a free flowing match in which the All Blacks scored 8 tries. Laurie Mains converted 5 of these tries and slotted two penalty goals for a personal contribution of 16 points; taking his personal aggregate for the tour to 93 points.
The All Blacks forwards were rampant and scored 5 of the seven tries with the other three tries being scored by Purvis (2) and Joe Morgan. Alan Sutherland, the Captain for the day, and Lawrie Knight both scored two tries with Graeme Crossman adding the other forward try.
The All Blacks were ahead 44-9 by 18 minutes of the second half and a score of 60 to 70 a distinct possibility when they lost their impetus. The decline coincided with the departure of Bill Osborne which left the field heavily concussed after tackling a rampaging Polla Fourie.
Kit Fawcett replaced Osborne and went to the left wing with Purvis moving into the centres. Fawcett proceeded to do everything wrong, and fouled up three try scoring opportunities. Kerry Tanner played in only his second match in five weeks after his illness and went through the game scrummaging pretty well.
It was a reasonable good win for the Kiwis against a weak side but some danger signs were starting to pop-up. An Article in the Sunday times by Barry Glasspool entitled “Are the All Blacks Cracking” showed how the All Blacks have declined as a defensive unit as the tour progressed and speculated that the tour is starting to take its toll on the side. Up until the Quaggas game, said the Sunday times article, the All Blacks had conceded only 11 tries in 14 matches. In the last three matches, including the Transvaal Country XV, ten tries had been conceded.
Laurie Mains was once again sent off with the dirt trackers to Upington a few days later as was Kerry Tanner; both not considered for the third test with the All Black selectors deciding to pick Perry Harris -who arrived just before the game against Natal as replacement for Johnstone who was send home due to injury- in the frontrow and Kit Fawcett on 15. Harris was not even invited to the NZ trials –before the tour started- and was considered the sixth choice loosehead prop in NZ. Harris selection for the third test was a major mistake and Tanner, in general, was not very happy with being overseen for the third test as was Mains who was working hard at his game.
This all contributed to the dirt trackers being polarized into a tight, clannish bunch that weren’t afraid to air their grievances when the road swung to Upington after defeat in the third test. I’ll write about that later but will suffice to say here that it was already clear at this stage from remarks made by team members to Sport Journalists that the All Blacks were starting to feel the heat. Terry McLean explains:
Sutherland, captain of the day, confronted three Kiwi Pressman in the bar of Burgers Park in Pretoria. “The trouble with you jokers (the actual word was less refined), “he said, “is that none of you know anything of what’s really going on out there. You are all just guessers.” A little time later, after “Sully” had departed on more interesting business. Oliver arrived at the same spot. The talk was Rugby. “Off course,” he said, “I haven’t a clue. You Press jokers (the word was jokers) have seen a hell more Rugby than I have. You know it all.”
Picture of Frank Oliver who ended up with some stitches for a cut in his head. Oliver had a particular good game, he won lineout ball, drove superbly and committed himself totally to the rucks and mauls.
Alan Sutherland scoring one of his two tries. Sutherland was again prominent and at least one enthusiastic South African Pressman wrote that Sutherland was now threatening the places of five test players – presumably lock, flank and Number 8.
Neil Purvis who scored two outstanding tries and who played arguably his best game on tour. Here he evades the Transvaal Country XV flyhalf Flip Schoeman who did not have a particular good game.
Joe Morgan scored from a treble scissors from Going to Mitchell to Going to Morgan. It was a dead ringer according to Terry McLean of the famous North Auckland move of the brothers Sid, Brain and Ken Going.
Transvaal Country XV
5 con, 2 pen
1 con, 1 pen
Tollie du Preez
Alan Sutherland (C)
Martin van Eeden
Ben du Toit
Jerry van Rooyen
Piet Nieman (C)
* Bill Osborne left the field after 51 minutes replaced by Fawcett
Crowd 16 000 and the referee was Dr Johan Gouws from Eastern Transvaal. Match was played in Witbank.
Run of play
Mains penalty, 22 m.
Knight try, Mains convert.
Schoeman penalty, 36 m.
Strydom try, Schoeman convert.
Mains penalty, 36 m.
Purvis try, Mains convert.
Morgan try, Mains convert.
Knight try, Mains convert.
Sutherland try, Mains convert.