The second match against North Auckland played in extreme weather conditions in Whangarei didn’t help the Springboks’ cause; the Springboks were desperate to not only win but also to play well but the wet underfoot conditions made it impossible to play proper rugby.
There was general agreement that the Springbok pack was outplayed by the
On another place Price writes that the Springbok forward play had developed a different slant –in comparison the pack of 1937 and All Black rugby- since contact with the British teams in 1952 and 1955. The South African forward play in his opinion was not the scrummaging machine of old as South African forwards were all trained to link with the backs and not on contesting as fiercely as the Kiwi teams at the rucks.
By the time the Springboks arrived in Whangarei on the Sunday a phenomenal amount of rain had fallen in Whangarei –almost double the normal average- but Craven was livid after Hamilton and had the team training for two hours in pouring rain on the Monday. Esmonde Doherty of the Auckland Star wrote that the ferocity of the training session in conditions so cold that
The weather got worse as the week progressed and by match time on the
These two photos show the extreme conditions in which this match was played. In the top picture the mud smeared players lined-up for a lineout of which there were 123 during the match. The Springboks from front to back is Bertus van der Merwe, Harry Newton-Walker, Chris de Nysschen, Jaap Bekker, Chris de Wilzem and Jan Pickard. The bottom picture show P Erceg with the ball and Harry Newton-Walker trying to turn him while the mud smeared players from both sides are approaching the join the mud wrestle.
The Springboks struggled to settle down in these extreme conditions while
'Poppye' Strydom the
A realisation that the box kick and soccer style foot rushes (fly-kick for lack of a better word) instead of picking the ball up were better tactics to use in these conditions were however slowly dawning on them.
Johan Claassen remembers, ‘I was struck by two things in
It was De Wilzem –the
This picture shows Pickard’s approach in
Clive Ulyate also found his feet and began to direct high diagonal kicks into no-man’s land for his three-quarters to follow up. Ulyate’s poise and assurance were the brightest features of the second half, writes Terry McLean. He also writes that the second half contained a good deal of Ulyate’s kicking and although some it is was wanting in precision because he was wanted in match practice it were pressure kicks. It was these kicks which led to a premature jump of joy by Strydom for a dot down by van der Merwe, a gallant attempt by de Nysschen to gain a try and, the ultimate reward a try to Montini in which du Preez had a lion’s share with a deft kick ahead of the slithering ball. Montinini had a change of another try from an almost precisely similar series of incidents, but as he started at the ball, like a man confronted with a cobra or an income-tax demand, Wright arrived at high speed to kick it dead.
Clive Ulyate the Springbok flyhalf - a weekend golfer with a 4 handicap and a
So, slowly but surely the Springboks –who found the going grim in the first 30 minutes of the game and who were lucky not to have leaked several tries up to that stage- began to get on top. Pickard kicked high from the line-out and the rest of the forwards tore into the ball and rucks; Van der Merwe dominated in the tight phases and Ulyate continued with his diagonal kicking. Eventually one of these kicks brought dividends when Montini followed through on one such a kick and dot down for the solitary try and points of the match. There were as mentioned above at least two other close calls with du Preez and van der Merwe crossing the line but the referee ruled ‘no try’ on both occasions.
The Montini try was not without controversy as he appeared to have been in front of du Preez when the last mentioned toed the ball on.
IN the last 28 minutes the Springboks controlled very nearly all writes McLean but the North Aucklanders did make a break or two and there was always the hope in the spectator’s minds that something would turn up, even if it was only a penalty goal.
In the conditions the North Auckland game plan was very similar to the
The home fullback Dixon Wright played well in the difficult conditions and was according to some reports the best back on the field. Eastwood on wing outplayed van Vollenhoven who struggled in the mud while the Jones (lock) and Dean (flanker) dominated the lineouts and were prominent in the loose. Strydom and Ulyate played well after initially struggling to find their feet in the mud and Pickard, de Wilzem and van der Merwe were the best Springbok forwards.
Everyone kicked in the match even the man who would break the camels back in the fourth test. The outstanding loose forwards of the 1956 series Peter Jones shown here playing for
Jan du Preez ready to make a tackle early in the match.