December 13 1913
ALL BLACK STOPOVER IN FIJI
After their sixteen match tour of the USA and Canada, where they outclassed their opposition, the 1913 All Blacks played an unofficial match against a Fijian side whilst their ship was in Suva. The referee was Billy Hill of Australia who had been invited by the California Rugby Union to referee the Stanford v California match, had controlled two of the All Black matches (including the test against All-America) and was returning home on the same ship as the All Blacks.
“THE FIJI TlMES with incorporated the Suva Times
Price- Three Pence
Tuesday, December 16, 1913
THE ALL BLACKS VISIT
A fine exhibition
A pleasant evening
On Friday excitement ran high in sporting circles as to whether the Niagara would arrive in port in time for a game of Football to be played between a local team and a victorious New Zealand team which was on its way from America. Games or no games, it was decided that the footballers should be entertained in the evening to a dinner. Mr A Cox was approachcd, and in spite of the exceedingly short notice given to him to prepare the repast, promised to do his best.
On Saturday morning the sportsmen awoke with good terms with themselves as the weather excellent and good news received early by the Union Company, that their champion ship would be in port at 3p.m., tended to make most footballers supremely happy.
Shortly after the steamer arrived the footballers came ashore and as Mr. Sheehan the local captain walked the visitors down the parade, they were followed by an admiring crowd of little half-caste and natives, Fiji’s hero worshippers. By a quarter to 5 there was a large crowd of spectators by the back of the Albert Park for the cricketers had declined to risk the cutting up of their pitch by loaning their ground to the muddied oaves. At 5 o’clock the time arranged for the kick off his Excellency the Governor accompanied by Lady Escort and Mr. Bruce the newly young arrived solicitor arrived on the field. At some twenty minutes past 5 the team appeared upon the scene and after the New Zealand had given their renowned Maori haka (war cry), took the field.
From the time his excellency kicked off till referee Hill blew the final whistle, a great exhibition of what the training and practice of professionalism can bring a game to was given to the Suva public by the All Blacks and a lesson such as a professional musician might give to his pupil was given to the local rugby football aspirants. There was of course never the least suggestions of the local team making a game of it, though McDermott was fortunate to score a try in the first half. The New Zealanders combination was as perfect as their speed was terrific, no sooner did one of them start to rush than the rest lined up in an slanting line behind him, in order that the ball might be passed up the field. The dodging was great, and it was a common sight to see one of men in black successfully dodge the whole of the white clad team. Storr opened the scoring at the beginning of the game and try upon try and goal upon goal was scored till the whistle blew with the score 67-3.
As to the local team, as we have said, naturally they did not make a game of it as far as passing, combination, or dodging was concerned but nevertheless several of their members did some very plucky defense work against the lusty, speedy and well trained too. Wright (full back) acquitted himself admirably in this direction. Young Beddoes funked nothing he couldn’t get hold of, and once dragged some 13 stone of humanity down into his chest. Whitehouse was another hard a plucky worker and McDermott was “aIl over it”. The spectators owe all the local teams a debt of upon which the All Blacks could give such a fine exhibition.
In the evening the conquering heroes were entertained at a dinner to which no less than 74 people sat down. His Excellency the Governor took the chair and his worship the Mayor, Dr Brough, Hon H. Marks and H. M. Scot, K. C., were amongst those present After the excellent repast which was provided by Mr. A Cox., at the club hotel, his Excellency gave the loyal toast which was accorded musically honors. The next toast was that of the visitors proposed by his Excellency in his best genial style, in a short speech overflowing with wit. This was responded to by Mr Mason, the manager of the visiting team who showed how proud he was of his men and how pleased they had been to play a game in Suva. Other toasts proposed were the captain of the All Blacks Mr Macdonald, the captain of the local team, Mr “Paddy” Sheehan, the referee Mr Hill who had gone from Australia to the U.S. to coach, the Harvard University students in football, the FIJI Rugby Union proposed by Mr Scott K.C, it’s President (here to us; there’s none like us!) and his Excellency the Governor. The toast having been responded to in splendid form the merry party broke up, in time for the visitors to rejoin the good ship Niagara and complete their homeward journey.
During the dinner the visitors delighted their hosts by the many catchy chorus they had to sing, such as the Maori version of “He’s a jolly good fella” to the old and popular tune and song of admiration for their popular captain ‘Mac, Don, Ald, Macdonald’!”