The McLook rugby collection
South Africa 32 / Poverty Bay 3
The Springboks first game in New Zealand was in Gisborne against a combined team of Poverty Bay-East Coast, which consisted of several quality players. The captain of the home team was Allan Rowlands, an All Black reserve and trials player. On centre was Biff Milner who would play for the All Blacks in 1970 against the Springboks. There were also players in the team who represented the Maoris and who played for the New Zealand Colts. As is the case with a combination team (players from different clubs/teams put together for a one off game) lack of combination was their primary weakness and problem on the day.
The weather was unfavourable for attractive rugby, especially testing at the end of the game when it rained hard, with a strong and bitterly cold wind blowing quite fiercely. The ground was wet and heavy. The Springboks were in depressive mood after the series lost against Australia and the wet and cold weather certainly did not help to improve their mental state.
Nelie Smith opened the scoring with a try after a blindside move during which he Mans and Lofty Nel handled the ball. Henare, the opposition no 15 and New Zealand Colt player kicked a penalty shortly afterwards to square the score line.
A strong run by the Springbok No 8, Jan Ellis, resulted in the Springboks' second try. Ellis broke through the defence gained some 15 to 20 meters before passing to Barnard who sent Mans over in the corner with a long pass. The try was converted by Mans.
Wynand Mans in process of going over for his try with combined centre H Milner on the ground in the back. Mans scored 11 points in this match.
Soon after halftime Mans was successful with another penalty before Lofty Nel broke through the first line of defence and passed to Barnard to score; the conversion was successful.
Jannie Barnard scoring the third Springbok try. The Barnard try came after some fine interpassing between backs and forwards. Arriving too late to stop the try is winger M Haua.
Walton fell on the ball for another try when the ball rolled over the goal line after the opposition's No 9, Taare, fumbled under pressure close to their goal line.
Combined scrumhalf T Taare fumbling here behind the line-out with Goosen, du Preez, van Zyl and Lofty Nel in hot pursuit. It was a fumble and charge through like this close to the home team’s goal line that resulted in a try for Walton.
There was also a push over try by Goosen and two further tries by Ellis and du Preez respectively towards the end of the match when the rain was falling heavy. Ellis picked-up a ball behind a ruck and dummied his way past Henare for an unconverted try and du Preez completed the scoring with a try which Mans failed to convert.
Piet Goosen is shown here crashing through a line-out with Sakkie van Zyl in support. Combined lock forward D Fee is trying to block the charge.
Here lock forward Piet Goosen get within an inch of scoring. He was tackled just short of the line and made a desperate dive for the line but hit the corner flag in doing so. Winger M Haua arrives too late.
Terry McLean makes the following remarks about this match:
The star player must have been Walton at hooker. Notwithstanding that he had so much weight behind him, his score of 14-2 –it may have been even more- on heels against the head was the largest I had ever seen.
Then Schoeman, who had looked so much out of his class in Australia, took to the mud and slush as a duck to water.
The pace in the backline was shattering, too. Once, at a breakaway, Milner broke clear by two to three yards –Milner the boy everyone was saying is a genius of the future. With the New Zealand Colts in Australia in 1964 he certainly looked good and he could run, too. But within five yards of his break, Brynard and Nomis mowed him down. The sight was a little alarming.
Johan (Haas) Schoeman
Johan (Haas) Schoeman according to McLean "looked out of his class in Australia but took to the mud and slush as a duck to water". Mclean writes further about Schoeman: Johan Schoeman was so determined to become a Springbok that all through the summer before the team for the short tour of 1965 to the UK was chosen he ran, exercised and spent a great many hours at wood chopping, favouring this last activity as a means of building the bodily strength and vigour he considered would be essential for a visit to New Zealand.
South African journalist, Roelf Theunissen, went so far as to say he was the most intelligent player in the team. Among the big boys of the All Black teams, however even his wood chopping background made no impression and on the overall count he never quite managed to look the kind of Springbok forward one had always imagined Springbok forwards to be.
Schoeman started his studies at Stellenbosch in 1959 and left in 1964 with a BA LLB to join a law firm. (Later he obtained an MBA) He walked into the Under-19A and then battled at first team level against the likes of Lochner, Dawie Ackermann, James Starke and Ronnie Melck. He was in and out of the first team. He was remarkably strong and a fetcher in the Jan Boland Coetzee mould.
He played for Southern Universities and became a regular member of Western Province side from 1962 to 1965. He became a Springbok in 1963 when he was chosen for the third test against the Wallabies. In 1965 he toured Ireland and Scotland with Avril Malan's side and then Australia and New Zealand with Dawie de Villiers's side - both disastrous tours for the Springboks. In all he played in seven tests.
The Springboks were happy with the referee -6 penalties for them and 10 against them- and Nellie Smith’s comment "It is quite pleasant to play under international rules instead of Australian rules" went off well with the Kiwi's.
Don Walton who gained his test spot above former Captain Abe Malan with superb hooking and excellent overall play.
Walton made his presence felt from the very first match on tour when he hooked 14 heels against the head. He played in 14 matches including the 3rd and 4th test matches and scored 4 tries on tour.
McLean writes as follows about Walton: He won a vast number of heels against the head against practically every hooker he competed with – 14 at Gisborne, 12 at Blenheim to mention the extraordinary ones.
Had he not suffered a hamstring injury at training two days before the first test –by which time against considerable odds he had established himself as a decisively more efficient hooker than Malan- Walton might have came out of the tour with a very much greater reputation than he did.
He won the contest with Malan (who had advantages in a previous captaincy of South Africa and membership of the team’s Tour Committee) and by the end of the tour had taken rank as one of the most efficient hookers to visit New Zealand in 20 years. Walton played in 8 tests (1964 – 1969) and his provincial team was Natal.
D Wi Repa
Frik du Preez
AGE Rowlands (Capt)
T te Kani
Sakkie van Zyl
Some interesting aspects of this Springbok team that played in this match are that Nomis and Brynard feature on centre. Both were originally favoured as centers but played all their respective test matches on the wing. Nomis did not play in any test matches during this series as he got injured but established himself as the test left wing during the third test against the British Lions of 1968.
He played his first three test matches namely the last test against the French in 1967 and the first two test matches against the Lions of 1968 in the outside center position. He played the rest of his 25 test matches on the left wing; his last being in 1972 against England. The New Zealanders in particular thought that Nomis would make an outstanding center and would be more of a team player in that position than Mannetjies Roux.
Also notice Jan Ellis on No8. Ellis was apparently tried in different position during tour matches at the start of his international career but ended-up playing all his test matches as a flank forward.
Captains of the day Nelie Smith and A Rowlands shaking hands on their way off the field after a match during which the Springboks looked a bit rusty early on. The ‘Boks settled down midway through the first half and by half time had gained almost complete control. In spite of heavy rain and a muddy field they were able to run in 6 tries for an impressive first win on New Zealand soil.