The McLook rugby collection

A personal collection that tells the story of Springbok rugby

'76 fourth test 2nd Robertson obstruction Add Video

Posted by McLook on April 10, 2011 at 5:27 AM 4625 Views

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16 Comments

Reply All Blacks 1996
7:56 PM on August 4, 2011 
"[McLook]
It is however the nature of the rivalry and it is exactly these sort of contestable occurances which makes it such a intense rivalry. "

Yes you are correct. In order for this rivalry to be preserved and its very unique traditions handed to future generations it is essential that both teams keep winning games. Yes the Boks need to win a few in NZ. (Did I really say that?)

Already the oz media are saying Oz should be the ABs main rival. This would be a triumph for marketing, product placement, brand management, and advertising over tradition, mud and glory, and the people that toiled the land to make a living against the odds, and played rugby for the glory of their society and culture in a corner of Africa, and a remote corner of the pacific where the sun shines when it is night everywhere else.

The people that send out a B team to give the All Blacks a good old fashioned smack, and kick in the pants are not respecting those that did it for glory an no other reward.

Doc Craven, Jaap Becker, Louis Moolman, would turn in their graves if they saw a Bok team concede 40 points to the All Blacks.

These issues need to be raised before it is too late.
Reply McLook
3:29 AM on August 4, 2011 
All Blacks 1996 says...
A few years ago I had the privilege to go out for a beer with Professor Robert Snowdowne (University of the Orange Free State). He was the SARB appointed touring team physician to the 1976 All Blacks in South Africa. He was the chap that designed Grant Batty's moving knee brace.

He said he made an agreement with Peter Whiting to get him through the test series, on condition he retire immediately. The disk space in his back were collapsing. Batty could barely walk some days. Ken Stewart had back issues, and Kerry Tanner should have been sent home early in the tour.

I do not agree that flyhalves Doug Bruce and Duncan Robertson played badly at all. That was a keenly contested position by two fine All Blacks. Doug Bruce was a good tactical kicker, and Robertson was admirable out of position at fullback. Neither was a goal kicker, and Robertson was never intended as a full back.

McLook you have opened some very old and deep wounds. I am off to see my anger management counsellor.


Hahahaha, all of the best with that anger management mate. I have been to my counsellor 3 times already since saturday's trashing.

Seriously, injuries was the All Blacks big problem during that tour.

In terms of the flyhalf. I agree Bruce and Duncan Robertson were good flyhalfs but both more suited for the running game. Bruce was a better tactician than Duncan Robertson and I think it was a mistake to play Duncan Robertson in the first and last test on fullback. New Zealand tried to play a tactical game with Bruce which didn't work for them. They secured enough qualilty ball in the first, second and fourth test to run the ball more and personally I think Duncan Robertson could have been a better option on flyhalf as the backline always seemed to play better with him in the No10 jersey. That is just looking at it as an outsider and based on how these two players performed in South Africa during that tour.

Bezuidenhout did made some shocking desicions in the third test like the Going incident and his ruling at the scrums and line-out were non existent. However NZ made some crucial selection and tactical error in the third test which cost them the match, in my opinion.

It's all water under the bridge now but I do appreciate your longstanding scaring (smile).

It is however the nature of the rivalry and it is exactly these sort of contestable occurances which makes it such a intense rivalry. Have a look at my lastest post (2011 tri-nations - media reaction) on Bob Dwyers analysis of Alan Rolland's performance over the weekend. Nice litte video clip. He (Rolland) was horrible at the breakdowns missing mistakes made by both New Zealand and South African players. Not an easy job being a referee.
Reply All Blacks 1996
11:38 PM on August 3, 2011 
A few years ago I had the privilege to go out for a beer with Professor Robert Snowdowne (University of the Orange Free State). He was the SARB appointed touring team physician to the 1976 All Blacks in South Africa. He was the chap that designed Grant Batty's moving knee brace.

He was a top bloke, and had very interesting stories to tell. He was of the opinion that the 1976 All Blacks were walking wounded when they arrived in South Africa, and many should have not been considered due to the nature of the injuries they were carrying.

He said he made an agreement with Peter Whiting to get him through the test series, on condition he retire immediately. The disk space in his back were collapsing. Batty could barely walk some days. Ken Stewart had back issues, and Kerry Tanner should have been sent home early in the tour.

I would suggest that Going, BeeGee Williams, Grant Batty, Bruce Robertson, Pole Whiting, and Ian Kirkpatrick would make a team of all time greats. Pure unrivaled talent, we have not sent better individuals to teach the Boks a lesson. However, it was not enough to beat the Boks in South Africa.

Johan Strauss delighted in wrecking every scrum in the 3rd test, and Bezuidenhout let him do it against first cap tour replacement Perry Harris. (Personally I would have sent for Kevin Skinner to sort out the problem).

Mr Bezuidenhout penalised Sid Going for the ball being blown over in the wind and taking too long to kick at goal in the third test. At the time the laws stated time over the allocated 45 secs should be added to injury time at the end of the game. Bezuidenhout made up that penalty himself.

Kit Fawcett and Laurie Mains were a mistake with the benefit of hind sight.

I do not agree that flyhalves Doug Bruce and Duncan Robertson played badly at all. That was a keenly contested position by two fine All Blacks. Doug Bruce was a good tactical kicker, and Robertson was admirable out of position at fullback. Neither was a goal kicker, and Robertson was never intended as a full back.

Pole Whiting was wonderful in the lineouts, exposing John Williams and Kevin de Klerk. Bezuidenhout allowed lifting as per the uniquely South African interpretation of the laws. If it was not for this the Boks would have struggled for ball.

Morné du Plessis was known in NZ as ?that Jersey pulling bastard?. I was a number 8 myself and was also called ?that Jersey pulling bastard?. The difference was that Bezuidenhout tolerated it, and the nice guy All Blacks did not have a 99 call.

Despite all this, friendships emerged from the series, Grant Batty and Gerald Bosch regularly meet up for a beer these days, and Boland Coetzee became friends with several of the All Blacks.

McLook you have opened some very old and deep wounds. I am off to see my anger management counsellor.
Reply McLook
6:43 PM on August 3, 2011 
All Blacks 1996 says...
SkyTV appear to organise the fixture list now. These are australian people that that have tried to reduce rugby to a branch of the entertainment industry. Rugby did not need to improved to appeal to the unwashed. I agree these B team Trinations fixtures do not capture the imagination of traditional supporters.

I suggest NZ and SA red card OZ from the Trinations and Super Rugby, and resume touring. News Corporation is ruining the game.

I agree. You should read Chris Laidlaw's book 'Somebody stole my game'.
Reply McLook
6:40 PM on August 3, 2011 
All Blacks 1996 says...
This was a good All Black team, they beat the Lions in 1977. Neutral referees were offered and foolishly refused by the NZRFU in 1976.

The teams in the 1976 series were very evenly matched, the All Blacks scored more tries, but Gerald Bosch was the difference between the two teams.


The '76 All Black team was generally speaking a good team, I would agree, but the touring side had some issues which ultimately cost them the series, I would argue.

The had weakness in the key positions of flyhalf and fullback and went into test matches playing players out of position to try and cover those weaknesses. Injuries and selection decisions was another problem notebly the injuries to Peter Whiting (playing with a back problem throughout the series always in pain) , Kerry Tanner (sickness), Billy Bush (not able to play in the critical third test) and Bill Osborne eventually culminated into the team adopting tactics which cost them the third test.

Playing Duncan Robertson on fulback in the first and third test as well as dropping Kevin Eveleigh for the third test and playing the inexperienced Perry Harris on prop with the other prop also being selected out of position was crucial errors which cost them the third test.

In the end the All Balcks tactical kicking was not on standard and that had in impact on the series only because the All Blacks opted to play a similar style than the boks (10-man kicking game) instead of running with the ball.

This made Bosch a greater factor than he really was as his goal kicking throughout this series was actually far below his own high standards.

Bosch went into the first test with flu and played poorly missing quite a number of goal kicks. His tactical kicking and dropgoal as well as well as succeeding with the highly important last penalty did made the difference in the fourth test.

This series though did not really live up to expectations probably due to the two sides being very conservative in how they apprached the test matches.
Reply All Blacks 1996
8:34 AM on August 3, 2011 
SkyTV appear to organise the fixture list now. These are australian people that that have tried to reduce rugby to a branch of the entertainment industry. Rugby did not need to improved to appeal to the unwashed. I agree these B team Trinations fixtures do not capture the imagination of traditional supporters.

I suggest NZ and SA red card OZ from the Trinations and Super Rugby, and resume touring. News Corporation is ruining the game.
Reply McLook
5:55 AM on August 3, 2011 
All Blacks 1996 says...
New Zealand had waited a long time for 1996.


I felt the same when we won that test in Dunedin two years ago. The tri-nations victory in 2009 was sweeter than the 2007 WC win espescially because we also beat the AB in Hamilton.
Reply McLook
5:51 AM on August 3, 2011 
All Blacks 1996 says...
To me beating the Springboks means much more than winning a World Cup.

Small boys playing backyard rugby in NZ with their brothers and fathers imagine beating the Springboks. Watching the Robertson incidents in the 4th test in 1976 left my class of 11 year olds and my under 12 rugby team in shock. How could this happen? BeeGee Williams, Batty, Going, Robertson, Kirkpatrick, Whiting carried our collective hopes as a nation, and were worshiped like gods in NZ. Bezuidenhout had robbed us.


Great answer mate. I can absolutely relate to everything you wrote espescially to the parts left in small print above.

As a child our backyard games were against the All Blacks. Beating NZ in NZ or for that matter any place in the world mean more to me than a WC win.

I abolutely despise the current tendency to bring B teams to play in NZ for a 'bigger purpose' namely to win the WC.

In terms of your reaction after the Gert Bezuidenhout incident in 1976. We felt the same after the 1981 fourth test Clive Norling incident: "How could this happen".
Reply All Blacks 1996
3:55 AM on August 3, 2011 
Yes Loftus was amazing. I felt frightened when 70,000 boers did Die Stem in Afrikaans after ignoring Nkosi Sikeleli Africa. The All Blacks had an appointment with destiny. A week later I was at Ellis Park. The Boks played well that day, and I enjoyed the game even though the All Blacks lost. Our prayers had been answered at Loftus a week earlier.

I had been to a Currie Cup game at Newlands a few years earlier. Loftus was the best.

To me beating the Springboks means much more than winning a World Cup. A test series win against the Boks is more prized. Australia is a warm up match, like Italy, or Canada. The All Blacks v Springboks is war.

Small boys playing backyard rugby in NZ with their brothers and fathers imagine beating the Springboks. Watching the Robertson incidents in the 4th test in 1976 left my class of 11 year olds and my under 12 rugby team in shock. How could this happen? BeeGee Williams, Batty, Going, Robertson, Kirkpatrick, Whiting carried our collective hopes as a nation, and were worshiped like gods in NZ. Bezuidenhout had robbed us. Fitzpatrick grew up in this environment, from a very young age he was told that beating the Boks was the ultimate.

By the time 1981 arrived we knew the profile of every Springbok before they arrived in NZ. We all woke up in the middle of the night in 1980 to watch the Springboks play the Lions. Naas, Morne, Serfontein, were all household names in NZ.

New Zealand had waited a long time for 1996.
Reply McLook
4:52 PM on August 2, 2011 
All Blacks 1996 says...
I was at Loftus that day in 1996, flew all night to get there. I was alone in the stand surrounded by boers and they all reminded me of what had never been achieved. Die Stem in afrikaans drowned out the official music, and there was dead silence during Nkosi Sikeleli Africa.

The most amazing and intimidating atmosphere I have experienced at a rugby game.

Afterwards the South Africans gave me their hospitality, and we parted as friends.


What an amazing story. Did you watch the fourth test as well or just flew in for the one test?

In terms of the intimidating atmosphere. Yes, the whole experience right from landing at Jan Smuts airport (those days - name have changed since) can be a bit of a shock for a New Zealander, I would think. The traffic, the size of Johannesburg, getting to Loftus- which is a challenge all on it's own- and then the amount of people all communicating in another language turning up at the match could be pretty daunting I would think.

The staduims in SA is mostly much bigger than here in NZ (apart from Eden park, the Tin Cake and maybe Christchurch) but mostly the amount of people and the atmosphere at the games in SA is something to experience.
The barbeques outside Loftus before the match starting mid morning and the socializing around the open barbeque fires is unique to South African rugby. Going to the rugby is like a big festival.

In terms of people reminding you off what had never happened. I believe by the third test the reality of what is busy happening (or could happen) started to hit home. We were all convinced the the Springboks will wake-up out of their post WC high and show some styructure and urgency on the field.
Reply All Blacks 1996
5:55 AM on August 2, 2011 
[McLook]
"The wounds from this game did not heal on my soul until 1996 when Sean Fitzpatrick thumped the ground at Loftus"

My feeling in 1996 after the series lost was -and still are- that South Africa was caught like in 1956 with their pants on their knees. Like in '56 they had no idea of the intensity the All Blacks were going to come at them because off and old wounds/grudges/unsatisfied desires.

I was at Loftus that day in 1996, flew all night to get there. I was alone in the stand surrounded by boers and they all reminded me of what had never been achieved. Die Stem in afrikaans drowned out the official music, and there was dead silence during Nkosi Sikeleli Africa.

The most amazing and intimidating atmosphere I have experienced at a rugby game.

Afterwards the South Africans gave me their hospitality, and we parted as friends.
Reply McLook
4:57 AM on August 2, 2011 
"The wounds from this game did not heal on my soul until 1996 when Sean Fitzpatrick thumped the ground at Loftus"

My feeling in 1996 after the series lost was -and still are- that South Africa was caught like in 1956 with their pants on their knees. Like in '56 they had no idea of the intensity the All Blacks were going to come at them because off and old wounds/grudges/unsatisfied desires.

In '56 it was the '37 defeat and the '49 white wash. In 1996 is was the Suzie food poisen thing, the 95 WC final and the longstanding inabilty too win a series in SA.

I for one -and I believe many other South Africans- didn't even think of the 1996 games in terms of a series as it followed immediatley after the tri-nations. There were two games in July one against Aussie and one against NZ and then another game early in August in SA against the Wallabies and a week or so later the first of four tests in SA against NZ.

After we lost the third of these tests and the All Blacks stated celebrating a series victory my reaction was one of: "Wow, they regard this a series".

No I am not suggesting that is wasn't a series win (which it was) but it was a short tour following immediately after a tri-nations and I believe it was only after the Springboks lost the second test that the reality of the situation namely that they could be the first team ever to lose a series in SA dawned on them.

No this is no excuse I just think we in SA didn't always understood how painful the fact that NZ could never manage to win a series in SA was for the All Blacks/kiwi's.

There was certainly no talk in SA newspapers before and during the test matches of it being such an important series; most of us were still on cloud 9 after the WC victory and in fact didn't really worry a lot about the series.
Reply McLook
4:33 AM on August 2, 2011 
All Blacks 1996 says...
Incidents like this made defeating the Springboks in South Africa a matter of national importance, regardless of world opinion.

I understand Clive Norling was also very unpopular in SA in 1981. Kevin Skinner has been unpopular in SA for more than 50 years. Craven was hated and admired in NZ.


Yes, Norling was and still are very unpopular in SA. Conidering everything that went during that tour is was a sad end to the 1981 tour.

Bezuidenhout made a terrible desicion with the Robertson incident but there was many such decision over the years both in SA and NZ. In '56 there was a number of decisions that infurated Craven and I suppose the '49 All Blacks were also very unhappy with refereeing in SA.

I think it was more than just baise or poor refereeing. Referee's in the two countries developed certain ways of blowing at scrums, lineouts and rucks and players got used to certain styles of adjudicating.. Considering that no internet existed and that TV was basically still in its infancy (in SA the 76 series one of the first broadcasted on TV) touring to NZ or SA was literally like going to another planet.

After all the effort that has been put into standarizing refereeing procedures in recent years we still complain a lot about referee decisions today. I think it was twice as hard on players and referee's in those early years and I don't believe there was necessarily always an intent to cheat.
Reply All Blacks 1996
2:29 AM on August 2, 2011 
Gert Bezuidenhout was reviled in NZ more than Winston Churchill who organised the slaughter at Gallipoli. The controversy epitomizes the closeness of the longstanding rivalry. Incidents like this made defeating the Springboks in South Africa a matter of national importance, regardless of world opinion.

This was a good All Black team, they beat the Lions in 1977. Neutral referees were offered and foolishly refused by the NZRFU in 1976.

I understand Clive Norling was also very unpopular in SA in 1981. Kevin Skinner has been unpopular in SA for more than 50 years. Craven was hated and admired in NZ.

The wounds from this game did not heal on my soul until 1996 when Sean Fitzpatrick thumped the ground at Loftus.

The teams in the 1976 series were very evenly matched, the All Blacks scored more tries, but Gerald Bosch was the difference between the two teams.
Reply McLook
9:42 PM on July 31, 2011 
To read more about this match and incident take your cursor to 1976 tour in the list below the boat on the left of the screen. Some panels will appear; click on the panel '76- Fourth test.
Reply McLook
9:29 PM on July 31, 2011 
There was 26 minutes left on the clock when this incident -the most controversial incident in this match that would ultimately also define this tour and series- ensued. From within their own 10 meter area Going went left putting Bryan Williams in space. Williams chipped ahead and Kevin Eveleigh running up in support re-gather the ball. Eveleigh ran a few meters and inside the Springboks 10 meter area throw a long netball-like pass to Bruce Robertson at full tilt. Robertson chipped ahead, the ball bounced and sat-up neatly about 1 meter from the goal line. Robertson had a clear run to the ball with Springbok cover defense at all sort to try and beat him to the ball. Just before Bruce Robertson could re-gather the ball Johan Oosthuizen (some sources reckon it was Ian Robertson) on cover defense held him just long enough around the shoulders for Peter Whipp to get to the ball first and dot it down. The All Blacks in person of Ian Kirkpatrick demanded a penalty try but referee Bezuidenhout only awarded a penalty. The International Law Book is quite specific: ?A penalty try shall be awarded between the posts if, but for obstruction, foul play or misconduct by the defending team, a try would probably have been scored.?