This game against a combined team of North West Cape and South West Africa -played in Upington- produced some of the best running rugby on tour. By half time with the score a deceptive 24-7 in the favour of the All Blacks due to the brilliance of Bruce Robertson the Namib and Kalahari boys turned more and more too violent tactics in an attempt to unsettle the All Blacks. This spoiled what could have been a first-rate game as the desert boys had a pack that could stand up to the All Blacks and some real playmakers and speed in the backline.
In Johan Nel, Douvoet Heymann and Hennie Coetzee they had a front row equal in strength and vigour than the touring party; in Ian van der Merwe, Gys van Schoor and Jannie van der Westhuizen they had speed if not playmaking ability equal to the Kiwis and in Wolfie Wolfaardt, Arrie Putter and Chris Saayman a loose trio as industrious and abrasive at the breakdowns as the loose trio of visitors from the land of the long white cloud.
The desert boys rattled up 17 points in the first half –more than most other teams on tour- and actually equalled the All Blacks with 10 points in the second half. Herklaas Engelbrecht was an inspiring leader and a tower of strength in the lineouts, the mauls and at the breakdowns and the combined team was able to won three tight heads and was outscored at the rucks by only 8 to 5.
Behind the scrum Deon Karg –as most SA flyhalves those years- predominantly utilised his boot to explore attacking avenues. Despite this shortcoming, the outside backs of the combined team were full of running and if winger, Ian van der Merwe’s hands hadn’t let him down, the desert XV could have scored two more tries.
This is what Terry McLean writes about the combined North West Cape/SWA team:
There was an excellent fire in the combined team. Engelbrecht, a representative against every international team visiting these parts since the Lions of 1962, was shrewd and cunning hand in the lineouts and the three loose forwards, Saayman, Putter and Wolfaardt, were industrious and pretty clever. There was genuine energy in the backline, too, and that world record-holder on the right wing, Jannie van der Westhuizen, quite had the legs of Purvis when the latter made several attacking runs. (The record was 80 points set in a club match in 1972 – 14 tries, nine conversions, a drop goal and a penalty. Beat that for industry.)
But the curse was that the team was overly attached to unfair methods and violent play. Eveleigh was a hideous sight as he left the field before half-time. His cheek opened by the Saayman kick and reopened by another punch. He was partly concussed. There was much other rugged stuff. It was tedious and unnecessary, the latter because none of the midweek teams faced by the All Blacks was more zealous or played with more fire.
Hennie Coetzee the tighthead prop was one of the major culprits; a mischief-maker of the first order; his sly and snide tricks push Billy Bush way over the cliff into a red-mist of battle rage bordering on total loss of emotional control. It was only the earnest pleading and persuasive appeal-making ability of both Herklaas Engelbrecht and Frank Oliver that kept him on the field.
The referee actually reversing a send off decision –due to the appeal-making of Oliver and Engelbrecht- after Bush went battle mad, firstly, stamping on a man in the ruck and then chasing Hennie Coetzee for ten or more yards right in front of a stand filled with school children before belting into a grinning Coetzee with fist, elbow, knee and foot. Coetzee was no angel and McLean has the following paragraph on this malefactor:
Coetzee bopped Tanner early with an elbow and for days Tanner’s shiner was a sight of the tour. When Bruce Robertson, playing brilliantly, kicked and threaded through the maze, Coetzee dropped him with a trip – and collected a slambang from Oliver. Coetzee was there or thereabouts, when Saayman, too good a forward to play the silly stuff, kicked Eveleigh on the face, a fraction below the right eye.
Coetzee had been mischievous again when Bush started punching him. Coetzee, in fact, was a damned nuisance, not only for the All Blacks but also to his team – which, in spite of its predilection for tough play, had many fine qualities.
Some pictures of a raging mad Billy Bush in the Upington game. In the bottom picture Billy is about to release a right swinging hook from the boot laces on to Hennie Coetzee. In the right hand edge of the picture Schubel O'Reilly is blowing on his whistle. O'Reilly was so disgusted by the violence that he decided to hang-up his whistle and retire as a referee.
Jay Jay Stewart the All Black coach was vivid during and after the match. While Kevin Eveleigh was stitched-up during the match in the dressing room an angry Stewart vented his anger on everyone within earshot to the extent that the young Upington doctor finished the operation in tears, according to some kiwi bystanders.
Stewart argued quite convincingly afterwards that until the brutal moments of the third test and the ugly stuff in Upington the tour had been free of violent play. His point that one could hardly blame the kiwis for the violence in the last two games if there was no sign of it in the previous nineteen. “We are the common denominator in the whole question. Our aim on this tour has been, and will continue to be, to play good football. Punching, kicking and gouging has no place in our game. But if your teams start the nonsense you can’t expect our chaps to stand by and do nothing about it though I am disappointed at the way things have gone”.
Kevin Eveleigh taking on the NW Cape/ SW Africa team. This was before he was punched and kicked into submission and leaving the field in the 40th minute. The home team players on the picture are from the left Willem Gillmer, Douvoet Heyman, Jan Miller and Wolfie Wolfaardt.
Ken Stewart look like he's got his handbrake on as he charged down field in the Upington game with Gary Seear running up in support.
The stamina-sapping heat of Upington; the resilience and abrasive tactics of the opponents made this a hard assignment for the Kiwis so soon after the demoralising third test defeat. The All Blacks did start the match in style and Bruce Robertson was outstanding. His speed and playmaking skills distinguished him as an All Black in the class of Bryan Williams and Grant Batty.
The first try by Terry Mitchell followed a Robertson break; the second try by Lyn Jaffray was also inspired by a Robertson trust; the fourth try also by Mitchell came from a scorching Robertson break; and the fifth try by Sutherland was the direct result of a perfect kick through by Robertson.
Sutherland and Mitchell both scored twice with Jaffray also crossing the goal line to dot down. His fighting rage incident aside Billy Bush impressed with his work rate in the tight-loose, Frank Oliver was industrious in the lineouts while Lawrie Knight had a good game with the ball in hand.
There was therefore much to savour for the Kiwis after this match but the fighting had a demoralising effect on team spirit and probably played a big part with regard to the team being totally flat in their next match in Bloemfontein against the Orange Free State.
Alan Sutherland putting his shoulder into Johan Nel in the NW Cape/SW Africa match. Sutherland scored two tries in this match making him one of the top try scorers amongst the forwards.
It is unfortunate that the All Blacks was whisked away almost immediately after the game to boring Bloemfontein as there is much to do, see and experience in the Kalahari that could have lifted team morale. Four All Blacks, Ian Kirkpatrick, Grant Batty, Hamish Macdonald and Tane Norton for instance went hunting deep in the Kalahari.
They shot two Gemsbok and was treated to a midnight braai and slept outside in the desert. They rated it one of the great experiences of the tour and it is pity that not more players could have joined in a few days of recuperating in the wonderland of the Kalahari desert.
Tane Norton and Hamish Macdonald posing with a Gemsbok that got shot by the four kiwis able to spend a few days in the Kalahari.
Some typical scenes one would see as you travel from Upington into the Kalahari.
NW Cape/SW Africa XV
Johan Smuts –SWA
4 con, 2 pen
Jannie v/d Westhuizen - NWC
Dagga Engelbrecht -SWA
Gys van Schoor - SWA
Ian v/d Merwe - NWC
Deon Karg - SWA
Willem Gillmer - SWA
Arrie Putter - NWC
Alan Sutherland (C)
Chris Saayman – SWA
Wolfie Wolfaardt – SWA
Herklaas Engelbrecht (C) – NWC
Jan Miller – SWA
Johan Nel – SWA
Douvoet Heyman – NWC
Graeme Crossman (C)
Hennie Coetzee - SWA
* Replaced by Ken Stewart after 40 minutes
Referee: Schubel O’Reilly (Northern Transvaal); Crowd 8 000.
Run of play
Mitchell try. Mains convert
Mains penalty, 27 m.
Jaffray try. Mains convert.
Mains penalty, 41 m.
Karg penalty, 31 m.
Sutherland try. Mains convert.
Sutherland try. Mains convert.
Karg penalty, 36 m.
Smuts penalty, 50 m.
Karg failed with one penalty attempt and Smuts with three. Mains missed two penalties in the second half.
Terry Mitchell diving spectacularly to score in the 47th minute