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Otago, NZ juniors and Taranaki

The Springboks made their South Island debut against Otago in their fourth tour match. Otago had a reputation of being tough opposition against the Springboks, on previous tours, and the Springboks approached them with the necessary respect and caution.

South Africa 8 / Otago 6

The field was wet and heavy and a disappointing crowd of 21,000 showed up for the game.

The Otago team fielded 3 All Blacks namely in Don Clark, Chris Laidlaw and Earle Kirton. Morrison (no 8) and Duncan (no 2) were South Island representative players and Don Montgomery (no 14) has played for the New Zealand University team. 

There was much interest in the battle between the two respective 9/10 combinations. Otaga fielded two promising halfbacks namely Earl Kirton and Chris Laidlaw (both who would later become famous All Blacks) while Barnard on flyhalf had been impressive in his previous games and in Australia. De Villiers was playing in only his second match on tour but was impressive in his first match against Manawatu.

However, nothing much game of the halfback battle as the field was wet and the match a bit of a dour forwards struggle. Kirton made one good break that almost lead to a try but Barnard and De Villiers struggled on the wet field. De Villiers's play improved in the second half when he started to come to grip with wet under foot surface but Barnard was alltogheter dissapointing on the day.

The only points scored in the first half was a penalty by Otago, after Jan Ellis was penalized for late tackling Creswell (no 11) while he was in process of kicking for touch. The penalty was awarded in the Springboks 25-yards area where the ball landed.

Seven minutes into the second half Don Clark (no 6) was penalised and Boet Mulder untested as kicker was successful with an excellent 35-yards kick. South Africa took the lead shortly afterwards when Gainsford made a line break after the ball was send down the backline from a lineout. Gainsford send Engelbrecht away for a try in the corner. Mulder succeeded with the difficult conversion.

There were no further scoring until 1 minute before the end of the match; Kirton held on to a difficult pass from Laidlaw, after a scrum in the Springboks 25-yard area, and managed to kick the ball ahead. The ball jumped right for Cresswell (no 11) who picked it up on the run and passed to Collins (12 no) who scored in the corner. Taylor failed with the conversion and the Springboks won with 2 points. Final score, 8-6.

The Springbok backline struggled in the wet conditions and Boet Mulder was the only Springbok backline player who looked like he was able to cope with the wet and sticky mud of Carisbrook. The best forward on the field was Frik du Preez who had an outstanding game. 

Jan Ellis once again stood out with his speed and high work rate while Tiny Naude played his best match so far on tour.

  Boet Mulder

Mulder never played in a test match for South Africa.

He was selected for the 1965 team as a totally unknown player after an outstanding performance during the Springbok trials on a wet field.

Based on this performance and the perception that the Springboks wil be confronted with wet conditions, in New Zealand, he was included in the 1965 touring side.

Mulder played in 11 tour matches and scored a total 20 points in a Springbok jersey.

Here's what Terry McLean writes about Boet Mulder:

Christoffel Gerhardus Mulder sprang into the team against all expectation, on the strength of an exceptional match in the national trails, and there were times during the tour, notably after he won the game against Otago with goalkicks, when the tour committee was evidently of a mind to promote him to the first team. His goalkicking, was never reliable and because he was a big, heavy-footed man, of rather slow movement, it was decided, sensibly enough, that there would be a risk in using him in preference to Wilson.

As one member of the team party remarked, feelingly, it seemed inconceivable that South Africa with all its great resources of talent had no fullback of superior qualities. Off the field, "Boet" was the most quiet and modest of men. If he did not leave any great impression as an outstanding player, he commended himself, at least to me, for two special reasons.

He never so much as whimpered about the dislocation of a finger and played with an inverted V finger for several weeks as if was not even there.

Secondly, he painstakingly carried a lamb, separated from its mother -after being used for photographic purposes-around the flock for 90 minutes, on a farm near Masterton, until it was reunited with the right ewe. That was Boet Mulder-a very gentle man.

Naude's place kicking let him down against Otago and if it wasn't for Boet Mulder, stepping in as place kicker, the Springboks would probably have lost this match. Terry McLean writes as follows about this game:

Boet Mulder, practically untried as a goalkicker before, placed the two goals after Naude had missed three, one from as short as 30 yards, in the first half.

Otago were ahead by 3 to nil because “bugs” Taylor’s penalty just before half-time, nut they were behind 3-8 with nearly a half an hour to play after Mulder, carefully wiping his kicking boot on Ellis beforehand, had kicked a 40-yard penalty and followed with a conversion of Engelbrecht’s try, a try which for some appeared to result from a knock-on, though I thought it was a rebound from an Otago man.

Mulder had just missed a 25-yard penalty and when Macdonald caught the resultant Otago drop-out at the 25, a spanking rush developed in which Gainsford twice chopped inside before passing to Engelbrecht, who had the instant speed to get across.

The Springbok team for this game was:

Mulder; Engelbrecht, Gainsford, Roux; Truter; Barnard; de Villiers (captain), Ellis; Schoeman; du Preez; Smith, Nel; MacDonald, Malan; van Zyl.

South Africa 23 / New Zealand Juniors 3

The New Zealand Junior team that played against the Springboks in Christchurch consisted of players 23 years and younger.

None of the players were All Blacks, but there were 5 players -Biff Milner, Lyn Davis, Tom Lister, Graham Williams and Murray Jones- would later become All Blacks. Only one player Terry Mehrtens, whose father played for New Zealand in 1928 against New South Wales, had not played any first class or provincial rugby at all at that stage. Terry Mehrtens was the father of Andrew Mehrtens and he moved to South Africa soon after this match; he played for Natal against the 1970 All Blacks.

These young players, however, was far too light in the pants and the Springbok forwards dominated, and won convincingly with 20 points. It was a fairly monotonous affair for the 36 000 spectators and there was precious little backline play in the heavy and wet conditions.

Nine minutes after the game started Mannetjies Roux slipped through the mid field defence and passed to Nomis on 13 who send wing Brynard away for an unconverted try in the corner. Terry McLean described this try as follows:

Roux slips Tataurangi (no 11), Nomis goes half past Milner (no 13) and in the tackle puts Brynard away for a clinking try.

After 20 minutes in the second half the juniors managed to square the score line with a dropkick. Naude was successful with a penalty soon hereafter before he charged around the back of a lineout, in the junior’s 25-yard area, to be stopped just short of the goal line. Hannes Marais picked up and drove over the try line under a pile of black jerseys for a try. Naude missed with an easy conversion. Four minutes before halftime Frik du Preez forced himself over the try line for a try converted by Oxlee; halftime score 14-3.

McLean described Frik du Preez's try as follows:

Just on half-time, it’s a try for du Preez, made by Naude with a fierce break and carried on by Frik who, breaking clear, is so powerful that he carries it to the line with two or three Lilliputian figures holding on to his thighs and legs. 

Four minutes after halftime Naude was successful with another penalty before a forward stampede by du Preez, Schoeman and Naude with Naude plunging over for a try. A second charge by the Springbok forwards was stopped just short of the goal line but Nellie Smit send Oxlee away on the blindside after the subsequent ruck. Brynard received from Oxlee and ran wide around the defence for another unconverted try. Final score 23-3.

Davis and Mehrtens had a promising first-class debut on 9 and 10 for the junior's. Patterson (no 12) and Osborne (no 14) demonstrated good speed and determination and Lister (No. 7) was the best forwards for the New Zealand team. 

Wilson was outstanding for the Springboks on fullback and was rock solid under the high ball. Brynard scored two tries and had his best game so far on tour. Oxlee played with great self-confidence. Lofty Nel stood out for his relentless follow-up and work rate and Frik du Preez was the form forwards for the Springboks. The Springbok front row scrummed well and Walton at hooker and was prominent in the tight loose. 

Lionel Wilson

27 test matches (1960-1965). He married a New Zealand girl and settled in New Zealand after the 1965 tour.

Wilson played in 13 matches including all four the tests. He scored 3 points on tour -try in the 3rd tour match against Manawatu in Palmerston North.

Terry McLean about Lionel Wilson:

He was an unlikely-looking man for an international fullback, for he was slim of build, the deep lines of his face bespoke tension and he did not look to have the strength one associates with so a demanding position.

Yet from the time of his first appointment against the All Blacks in the famous third test at Bloemfontein in 1960 when D.B Clarke placed two great goals to tie the score 11-11, two minutes from the end, Wilson had remained first choice for Springbok teams.

The principal reason was bravery under fire, which was faultless. The second reason was infallibly sure hands; especially of anything in the air.

He was thought to be over the hill at the time of his selection in 1965, but by cunning, combined with a certain simplicity in most opposing teams except Auckland, he was able to conceal a want of swiftness in his running and in the wet, in the second test with the All Blacks, he played one of the most sublime games it would be possible to imagine.

Terry McLean writes:

The Juniors were hammered today, five tries to none. It was a licking. For the first time on the tour, discounting even the merry little jolts at Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane against second-rate teams, the Springboks looked an international side.

They had power and strength in the forwards, they had control at Oxlee in the backline, Wilson was magnificent at fullback and with power, calmness and deliberation the life was squeezed from the Juniors as precisely as a boa-constrictor.

These ‘Boks’ had the look of a real team capable of beating New Zealand. One-problem: The Springboks can’t kick goals. Naude missed twice from 35 meters or less, the first time striking the bar at the upright. Then he missed, as way back in Melbourne, a conversion from dead in front. Mans also missed twice with penalties. 

Truter running with the ball against the NZ Juniors.

Springbok team who played against the New Zealand juniors:

Wilson; Brynard; Nomis; Roux; Mans; Oxlee; Smith (Captain), Nel; Janson, du Preez; Naude, Schoeman, van Zyl; Walton; Marais.

South Africa 11 / Taranaki 3

The Springboks selected their test side to play against Taranaki, the holders of the Ranfurly Shield. Interest in the game was high and a crowd of 37,100 packed into Rugby Park in New Plymouth. The feeling among the Kiwi's after the game was that it was a game of missed opportunities with Taranaki the dominant team who couldn't convert opportunities into points.

Terry McLean's summary of this match:

The first really tempestuous match of the tour. The Springboks, very much against the run of play, won by 11 to 3, a goal and two penalty goals to a penalty goal, and they were elated at defeating the holders of the Ranfurly Shield before a record crowd on Rugby Park.

But from the first minute of the game, in which Briscoe kneed Nel at the back-side and Nel swung a punch, there was a great deal more to the game than play-the-ball. Followed a ruck in the midfield from a breakdown of movement in which de Villiers, breaking right, had inpassed to Schoeman.

Every forward went in like a battering-ram and when the punching and booting was done with, Macdonald, the Taranaki prop, was lying with a torn ear and a nasty wound on the head just behind it. He went off, being Macdonald and therefore as tough as kauri, came back. After which, the punching and booting and kneeing and jolting went on and on.

The best visible effort was Goosen, but most of the best, I suspect, went on behind the closed doors of scrum, ruck and lineout.

This was certainly no game for the timid; and it proved that the ’Boks’, being old hands, could dish out the scientific stuff, coldly and precisely.

Taranaki had 5 All Blacks, Terry O'Sullivan, Neil Wolfe, John McCullough, Ross Brown and Kevin Briscoe in the backline and one, John Major in the forwards on hooker. Two other forwards, Murray Wills and Ian Eliason later became All Blacks, while several other players in the Taranaki team were invited to the All Black trials. 

Picture shows De Villiers and the Taranaki Captain Ross Brown leading their respective teams onto the field. The other two Taranaki players behind Brown is John Major and Kevin Briscoe (both All Blacks). Abie Malan is the Springbok with the head gear behind De Villiers.

The only points in the first half were a penalty by Oxlee. Just after the start of the second half Oxlee was successful with his second penalty. Jan Ellis won a race to the ball after the ball was kicked into Taranaki's in goal area and dived on the ball for the Springboks only try which Oxlee converted. Taranki's only points came after a penalty for offside play by Jan Ellis. 

It was a rugged match and De Villiers was under much pressure due to his forwards showing a cretain inability to function as a unit.

On individual performances McLean writes:

Everyone was much shaken by the quality of du Preez’s lineout jumping and Malan’s hooking (three heads to none against the recent All Black, major).

Nel was vry lively, too, and Andy Macdonald scrummaged the Taranaki Macdonald practically into the ground.

But there was some puzzlement over the inability of the Springboks to tie their threads together and function as a unit. 

Some action from the Taranaki match.

The Springbok team for this game was:

Wilson; Brynard; Roux; Gainsford; Engelbrecht; Oxlee; de Villiers (captain), Nel; Ellis; du Preez; Goosen, Schoeman, van Zyl; Malan; Macdonald.