December 28 1926

Maori win exciting match against Cardiff

“Originally the Maoris last match was to be the French International, and Walter Carman had booked his return to New Zealand accordingly coming via Suez. However, as there was time left whilst the team awaited departure for Canada two extra matches were arranged and these are provided here from accounts printed in Wales.


Match programme.

CARDIFF
The first was at Cardiff in a game described as “Neither side deserved to be losers in this magnificent Tuesday game that brought 22,000 spectators to the Arms Park.”

In All Blacks in Wales John Billor gives the following account of this second encounter with Cardiff Club at the Arms Park on December 28 1926. “The Maoris gained their famous double victory over Cardiff by the margin of a conversion kick after india rubber scrum half Kingi had bounded away from a close range scrum and dived in for a try. Potaka’s easy goal kick clinched the match. In the Western Mail it was reported: “opening at a pace which seemed too good to last, the struggle went on from one good thing to another, until the spectators were on tenterhooks awaiting the thrill they knew was about to come. It was a case of rock-like Cardiff defence against attackers who never faltered in their determination to try yet again. The wily Maoris changed their tactics every couple of minutes.”

The Maoris were full of aggressive confidence after their 12-3 success over France the previous Sunday. The visitors passed in dazzling manner from one side of the field to the other, but always there were tenacious tacklers waiting for them. One critic expressed the view that the club tackled “as no wearers of the blue-and-black jersey have done for a dozen years.”

Barclay and Falwasser ran strongly on the wings, but Arthur Cornish and Ossie Male tackled unerringly. Once only Male stood in the path of Wampy Bell, with the Maori going full tilt. Male as so often for his Club and Wales, proved the immovable object. Cardiff took the lead with a try by wing LIew Williams when Frank Lee threw out a long pass to John Roberts and the centre drew the defence and put his wing around Falwasser to score in the corner. Male shaved the posts with a drop-shot and wing-forward Billy Ould was smothered five yards from the line after a rip-roaring rush.

Maori pressure mounted in the second half. Bernard Turnbull pulled down Barclay with a clawing tackle. Falwasser was drawn into Male’s grip like a man in a whirlpool. and then Barclay was troublesome again, until crashed to the ground bare inches from the goal-line following a “short line trick”. But it was left to the springy Kingi to bounce over and make possible Potaka’s winning goal shot. Maoris 5. Cardiff 3. The teams were:

Maoris: Potaka: A. Falwasser, R. Pelham, W. P. Barclay (capt.), D. Wi Neera. W. Mete: H. Kingi: J. R. Bell: J. Manihera. D. Tatana, W. Rika, T. Dennis. T. P. Robinson, 0. Olsen. S. Gemmell.
Cardiff: Ossie Male: LIew Williams, John Roberts. Bernard Turnbull, Arthur Cornish: Gwyn Richards, Bobby Delahay (capt.): Bob Barrell. Billy Ould. Jim “Ocker” Burns, Kevin Turnbull, Frank Lee, W. Watkins, Tom Lewis, Percy Bunce.
Referee: Albert Freethy (Neath)”

Pat Potaka - kicked winning conversion.

From “Maori Rugby 1884-1979” by Arthur H Carman. Pub. 1980 by Sporting Publications. P. 229.