Noted journalist Terry McLean on tour with the 1965 Springboks.
“13 July, Christchurch: Hamlet, up till now the acknowledged king of procrastinators, wouldn’t even qualify for the Grand Final in the company of these South Africans. Kerneels Cronje had his final, self-imposed fitness test this morning and flunked it, unfortunate fellow. Not for six months, he told A. C. Parker, could he hope to play Rugby or indulge in serious training. But would Louw strike an attitude and firmly intone to the world the sad news? Not on your life! He gave my word of sympathy the complete brush-off. “Nothing is certain yet,” said Kobus. “It is not time for a statement. We must have another think about this matter.”
To go in the afternoon to the schools’ match between Christ’s College and Christchurch Boys’ High School was a pleasant release. I had never seen this classic of New Zealand Rugby before and was especially delighted that College won because Derek Campbell, the son of my first commanding officer in the 22nd Battalion, “Pongo Tom”, was on the left wing and a real chip of the old block he looked as far as bravery was concerned. Gainsford was not so happy with College’s victory by 13 points to 9 after School had missed with four or five relatively easy penalties. He had given Mans and Bedford first choice in bets and they had promptly nominated Christ’s. So John had to shell out, with some fine invective about lucky stiffs. One of the stars of the game had been N. H. Hill, the Christchurch Boys’ High centre who had taken the outside gap for five magnificent breaks but who had failed to produce a try from any one of them. Gainsford had an encouraging word with the boy later and advised him to play wing because of his style of running and apparent inability to run a wing into position. Gainsford had an amusing tale to tell of his mother, an Australian-born woman who has become so involved in her son’s Rugby that she has become, so John says, the most one-eyed spectator in South Africa. John’s sister went with her mother to one game a year or two ago but was so shaken by the fierce argument which developed between her Ma and three men over the play of the Villagers’ team in the Cape Town competition that she got up and moved away. “Everyone does that with my mother,” said John. “Man, she just hates to lose.” It was an amusing picture. But in a fond aside, John said that the greatest sight he had ever seen was the smile on the face of his mother when he returned to Cape Town after a trial match from which he had received his first Springbok cap.
The New Zealand Juniors this morning were presented with All Black ties. Yet the New Zealand Council won’t allow them to be called Junior All Blacks. How come? It’s time the council got tough over All Black ties. You can see dozens, hundreds of ‘em all about the world, worn by the most undeserving people. All credit to the Juniors for winning New Zealand representation; but they are not yet All Blacks and so don’t deserve the tie. Compare this cheapening with the attitude of the Wallabies who played so extraordinarily well in sharing the test rubber with the Springboks in South Africa in 1963. They struck a tour tie and put so high a price on it that the stock is kept under lock
and key in a Sydney bank. Only the eligible members of the party are allowed the tie and they can only get a replacement by bringing along the worn-out old one and changing it, under official inspection, for a new. Ties have a currency on a tour or after a test match and make delightful swaps. But an All Black tie should be, primarily, for All Blacks only, not for Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all his cobbers.”
From “The Bok Busters” by Terry McLean. Published A H & A W Reed 1965 p.62-64.