August 29 1923
SOUTHLAND TOO STRONG FOR NSW
New South Wales had made a successful tour of New Zealand in 1921 and the following year at home provided strong opposition for both the touring All Blacks and New Zealand Maori sides, beating the All Blacks in two of the three “tests”. But the side that toured New Zealand in 1923 was weakened by the unavailability of ten leading players and struggled for wins. Game No. 4, against Southland, was no different.
“From Dunedin the tourists travelled south to Invercargill to meet Southland in a midweek match. ‘Jock’ Richardson, the current All Black captain, did not take the fleld for the locals, who boasted only one All Black, ‘Son’ White. However, the home team was a very strong one and inflicted a heavy defeat on the visitors.
A good Wednesday crowd of 7000 saw the game, played on a holding ground in warm weather. There was a stiff nor’wester blowing, making things difficult for the team facing it.
In the opening minutes John Oughton scored for Southland, and a short time later his brother Robert went over after Gilmour had beaten the defence. Agnew converted. John Oughton retired a few minutes later to be replaced by Walsh, who went to first five-eighth, Shand moving to the wing.
Near the end of the spell the New South Wales team swept downfield from a scrum and, after the whole line had handled, Stanley raced over, too far out for Nothling to goal. Halftime saw the home team leading 8-3.
A Southland attack early in the second half took play to the visitors’ line, where the home forwards won a ruck. The ball was moved quickly along the line to Gilmour, who dived across. Rice missed. Then, from a lineout, the New South Wales backs all handled and Stanley scored his second try, Nothling again missing the conversion. A break by the home backs took play to the tourists’ line, where Hazlett was well tackled but Gilmour was on hand to touch down near the posts. Agnew goaled.
The visitors returned to the attack and Bowers ran hard down the touchline, breaking through two tackles to score a great try. Stanley missed from wide out. A Southland forward rush sent away White, who outstripped the opposition to score between the posts for Agnew to goal. Another forward rush followed, from which the ball was kicked over the line where Hazlett fell on it. Agnew again converted. A little later Robert Oughton picked up in the loose and sprinted 25 yards to score his second try, which Agnew converted to make the final score 31-9.
The home forwards were completely in control throughout the game and laid the foundations for Southland’s easy win. The visitors looked a very ordinary side. Apart from the failure of their forwards, they suffered from the hesitant attitude of their inside backs which prevented the threequarters from performing to their full potential.
Gilmour was the best of the home backs, with White the pick of the forwards. Sheehan did some fine work for the visitors, especially on defence. Agnew’s five conversions were the highest number landed by a Southland representative to this time.”
From “The Visitors” R H Chester & N A C McMillan, Moa Publications, pub. 1990 p.130.
Things did not improve for New South Wales after the Southland match, they won just two of their ten matches, scoring 119 points but conceding 245.