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SWD and WP

On the recommendation that the AB should not miss the "magnificent scenery" of the Garden Route they cancelled their flights and travelled by bus to George for their next match against SWD.

Here's what they thought of the Garden Route:

It was dreadfully dull by all reports and the players were bored. The return journey will be by aircraft.

An understandable reaction if one considers the scenery and natural beauty of NZ. The Garden Route is certainly within the SA context unique, but no comparison with what you find in NZ (as can be seen on the pictures below)

Some pictures of New Zealand

My first impression of the Garden Route was also one of disappointment, mainly due to expectations created by well-meaning Garden Route enthusiasts. It (the garden route and surrounding areas) is however something that grows on you and certainly one of the places I would visit again if I were to travel to South Africa. The AB made a visit to an Ostrich farm; fear of injury was the reason why players were not allowed to ride the ostriches.

The SWD game stood out because it was Colin Meads' return game and the media were totally absorbed with that fact. In his book about the tour (Rugby and be Damned) Gabriel David writes as follows about Meads and this game:

Colin Meads trained hard at practice this morning and scowled his fiercest when it was suggested that he might like to pack with his good arm and thus protect his broken one. “I don’t want any favours. I’m a member of the side and expect to do my task without any help” he replied.

Aggressive and authoritarian behaviour by the SAP led to riots and incidences of violence –for the second time during the tour- between the police and the Coloured community this time in George. The coloureds like the rest of SA wanted to see and experience the All Blacks and in their normal spontaneous and comfortable style were hanging on trees, telephone poles, fences and temporary stands in an attempt to see the game. The police however in their customary fashion wanted to fit everyone neatly within a particular area and with typical bombastic aggressive abundance knocked, hit and forced child, woman and old person with batons into their neat little world of black and white. The following comment from David largely summarizes the visiting Kiwi’s appreciation of the SAP's demonstration of authority:

South African policemen can, now and again and not generally, but in specific instances, be as stupid and as intolerant as anyone. Indeed, more so on occasions. How easier would South Africa’s racial problems be solved if the police were more tolerant of humans irrespective of the colour of their skin?

Terry McLean in his book “Battling the boks” pulls no punches and expresses his feelings about the SAP’s treatment of the Coloureds as follows:

As riots go, the one which occurred in George was not too serious. But the events were still sufficiently disagreeable to leave a troubling impression about the relationships of the races of South Africa. As an example, they caused members of the New Zealand supporters’ parties to shout at the police, “you mongrels” and “You Dutch bastards”, and that sort of thing is not a common practice with supporters.

What appeared to us outsiders to happen was that the Coloured people after being pressed into their miserable space, and after watching their heroes of the All Black team, especially Meads and Milner and Going, performing well, were wound by no-side to the state when they simply had to release their excitement. The form they chose, a streaming across the field to the All Blacks, to touch them, to clap them on the back, to smile at them, was innocuous. The All Blacks were neither disturbed, nor dismayed.

No incidents would have occurred had not members of the Police Force decided to dismiss these people from the field. The methods they chose were offensive in the sense that they included batons and a viciously snarling police dog. But they were even more offensive in the sense that they were completely unnecessary.

They drove the Coloureds up the roads. It was a sour display of authority sans responsibility. The sourer part began when the Police Commissioner for a couple of days after the incident kept making official statements to the effect that the Coloureds had started up the fighting. I wish I could use a smaller word. Let me say, instead, that the explanation was balderdash.

All Blacks 36 / South Western Districts 6

David began his piece on the game against SWD in the following manner:

It was a strange thing, but very few of us could recall the score in this match five minutes after it ended. It was the game where Colin Meads returned to rugby, with broken arm, and what seemed more important was whether he would survive the exercise. “Had a couple of wrenches but unless there are complications, I am extremely happy,” was his verdict afterwards.

New Zealand won easily with imaginative, even daring rugby that worked –as they themselves acknowledged afterwards- because SWD had no identifiable defensive pattern or structure. Cottrell and Thorne had outstanding games, both playmakers thriving in loose games where the defence are not well organised. The All Blacks dominated up front in the tight phases as well as at the breakdowns and in the in the loose, the whole pack including Colin Meads therefore had solid games providing the backs with plenty of front foot ball. The SWD flanker, du Toit stood out and he scored a mentionable try in which he demonstrated good speed and determination. Fullback, de Kock also had a strong match; he impressed with his powerful left boot (line kicks and his goal kicking). 

Try scorers for NZ were Holmes (2), Thorne, Milner, Urlich, Going, Cottrell and Dick; Kember converted 6 of these tries. Du Toit scored for SWD and De Kock was successful with a penalty. 

The SWD team playing in this match were: G de Kock; G Pentz; D Gerber; F Stander; J Bester; S Conradie; L Calitz; S Jonker; D du Toit; A Laubscher; M Vlok; J Rademeyer; J Verster (Captain); G Olivier; I Swart.

The All Black team playing in this match can be seen here.

Run-up to the Western Province match

With the controversial second test -which was played only the previous weekend in Cape Town- still fresh in memory, there was a real buzz in Cape Town in anticipation for the match against WP. The South African Rugby Board staged a "monster" of a "cocktail party for 380 rugby supporters on tour from New Zealand. Telephone calls made by South African rugby supporters to All black players was starting to become an embarrassment and irritation for the NZ team because of the aggressive nature and bombastic attitude of the callers. Two of the younger team members were delegated to "screen" the incoming calls and only emergency/important phone calls were transferred to the players.

All Black manager Ron Burk made a point of it to have a talk before the match started with the referee adjudicating the game against Western Province and specifically reminded them of rule 18A, which stipulates that a player is required to release and roll away from the ball the moment he were off his feet and on the ground.

About the Cape rugby supporters/experts David writes:

Funny people, these Cape Town rugby critics. All week they have been praising the Western Province side, saying how the team will run the ball, what dangerous backs will be fielded and what tough opposition the All Blacks can expect. This morning, the day of the match, every critic has predicted in his respective paper a convincing win for the All Blacks.

All Blacks 29 / Western Province 6

Western Province fielded a very good team with several current and previous Springboks and the expectation was that they would give the All Blacks stiff opposition.

The Western Province team for this match were: I McCallum; G Muller; J Walters; N Babrow; A van der Watt; M Lawless; F de Villiers; I Trope; M du Plessis; W Hugo; F Burger; A Coetzee; A Jansen; C Cockrell; JB Neethling (Captain). 

The Western Province Springboks in the match against the 1970 All Blacks

Ian McCallum

Gert Muller

Andy van der Watt (1969-1970). Played in 3 tests,

Mike Lawless who played for flyhalf for WP, was a man who played four tests for the Springboks on No10. His last three test matches were during the 69/70 end-year-tour to the UK; he played in the test matches against Wales and Ireland and came up as reserve in the test against England.

Morné du Plessis, who played on the flank for the WP against the 1970 All Blacks. He started his test career in 1971. Here is a young Morné du Plessis in his 1971 Springbok blaser.

Charlie Cockrell (1969-1970). Played in 3 tests.

Tiny Neethling, WP captain for the match against the 1970 All Blacks.

The offical program for the match.

With all the publicity on foul play there was extraordinary pressure on the referee to take control and not to allow the game to degenerate into a bloodbath or a boxing contest. As often happens in such situations, the referee (Mr Gys Wege), ended-up being over cautious and so focussed on "being-in-control" that he ruined a game that could have been an great spectacle.

Obviously conscious of the late tackling publicity following the second test, Mr. Wege penalized every tackle early, on time or otherwise. It was a shame for the match had the ingredients of being one of the greatest ever seen on Newlands.

However, there were moments of brilliance and flow and the All Blacks delivered one of their better performances on tour; especially in the second half when they scored 5 stylish tries. David writes:

The game will be remembered as “The Bryan Williams show.” Today he scored two magnificent tries, made two others and showed he was at least human by making another spectacular break but muffing the try with a stupid kick when Thorne was ranging outside him. 

Bryan Williams was at his brilliant best against the WP. Here he hands-off the WP centre Nelson Babrow. John Gainsford -old Springbok centre- described Williams after the game as the best runner with a rugby ball that he has seen on a rugby field.

The NZ pack was outstanding while Kirton had a good game on 10 controlling the match tactically very well. The WP forwards played like an inspired pack in the first half and the half time the score was still 6 all. Walters on centre was Springbok material but his centre partner Nelson Babrow was suspect on defence. McCallum was outstanding at fullback and goaled a 50 meter penalty. Gert Muller on the wing did not get enough ball to make an impression.

This picture shows Johan Walters charging onto Fergie McCormick in the WP game. 

Strachan endagering his own players with a wild leap in a line-out against Western Province.

Terry McLean on this match:

To the All Blacks the glory –how could this be denied when, against the most famous of all South African provinces, perhaps the most famous Rugby province in the world, they scored seven tries? But a little of the glory had to be milked off. Had not Province, after all, Walters, the centre with the sidewise scuttle and the sprint like a bursting bomb? Walters used the scuttle and the sprint a few times to diddle Cottrell –who in turn did some diddling in reply- and this probably put Cottrell out of the next test, which was a very sad thing to happen. But the blond-headed Stellenbosch man was a very fine player, indeed –certainly Springbok material and an ideal partner, as a not to skilled defensive player, for that tiger among tacklers, Joggie Jansen.

McCallum hoisted enormous penalty goals from the heavy turf; de Villiers a tiny lad, bravely bore with the black backrow, and among the forwards Coetzee on the flank was a whizzer, here, there and every old where. But what on earth induced the Province selectors to choose men as heavy as Jansen and Hugo and as lean and slender as Morné du Plessis. Worst of all, why on earth was Dr Louis Babrow permitting himself to continue as chairman of the selection committee when his son Nelson was a contender for the team. 

Dick, Williams (2), Wylie, Thorne, Murdock and Milner scored for the All Blacks. McCormick, was successful with one conversion and two penalties. McCallum was the only point scorer for WP with two penalties. 

Top picture shows Going passing to Lochore with Morne du Plessis trying to stop their enterprise. Bottom picture shows Keith Murdock scoring his try against Western Province

The All Black team who played against WP can be seen here.