July 16 1921


The 1921 Springboks had opened their tour with a narrow win against Wanganui. The following day they travelled to New Plymouth, and were given a great reception at every railway station en route. The Taranaki team they met in their second match was a strong one, and the closest of games resulted. The following report is from the “Hawera and Normanby Star”.

Dick Roberts - Taranaki captain.



 The pretty park at New Plymouth presented its most picturesque and lively aspect on Saturday when the famed players from a sister Dominion lined out against the pick of Taranaki.

Long before the scheduled time of starting, in fact three hours before, the people were streaming into the ground, and by noon the terraces, which form such a vantage point for watching a match, were lined, and by the time of starting the people were sitting and standing three deep, and the reserved seats were full, twelve thousand, it is estimated being present, the largest crowd that ever mustered in the park.


Punctually at two o’clock the teams came out, Taranaki leading, and exchanged cheers. The visitors, at the call of the people, gave their distinctive war cry. They took the field as follows:—

South Africa— Odess, P. Meyer, A. Van Heerden .W. Clarkson, J. Weepener, H. Morkel, J. Michau, J Tindall, B. Morkel (captain), P. J Mostert, Harry Morkel. Royal Morkel, M. Ellis, H. Scholtz, T. Kruger, J. M. Michau.

Taranaki—Kingston, Sykes, R. Roberts (captain), Hickey, Coutts, B. Roberts, Atkins, McAllum, Cain, Campbell, West, Masters, Kivell, Fogarty, Spratt.


Taranaki, winning the toss, played from the western end, B. Morkel kicking off for the visitors. Hickeyreturned well and play hovered round the half-way flag till the Greens got in a rush that looked dangerous, but Coutts made a good save and lined well down. Taranaki pressed from the line-out, the forwards working well together; and Atkins, receiving, gained ground With a good kick. Then South Africa went away with a rush and, the ball coming out, Michau started the first of a series of brilliant passing rushes which electrified the spectators throughout. The ball travelled to Clarkson to Weepener, but he was well taken by Kingston and the movement failed and a penalty against the visitors gave Roberts a chance to line in great style. Again the visiting backs attacked. Van Heerden, H. Morkel, and Michau handling well, and the last named kicked well down the field. Kruger took a good mark and lined well. Following this up, the forwards attacked, but fine tackling by Coutts and Atkins spoilt a promising move, and a rush, headed by Coutts and Cain took play to the visitors’ quarters. The local men kept up the pressure, Masters and McAllum making a good rush, and excitement was great as Coutts, Roberts, and Sykes handled the ball in succession but a faulty pass spoilt a good chance. The Green forwards cleared in good style and Weepener, kicking and following up well, just failed to score. A penalty was awarded, and Meyer made a good attempt to goal. Taranaki forced. Play after the kickout was very even for some time, good line kicking being shown on both sides. A passing rush/was started by Michau from a scrum but Morkel was finely collared and Atkins returned to touch. Hard forward play ensued till at length Tindall secured, and, after a short dash transferred to Clarkson and he to Weepener, and excitement ran high as H Morkel dashed for the line, but Kingston took him just on the corner flag. It was brilliant passing and a remarkably fine save by the full-back.  Taranaki had a short reprieve, as a few minutes after away came the ball from Tindall to Weepener, and he passed to Van Heerden and a score looked likely, but the last man mulled and a fine chance was lost. Then the visiting forwards swept upfield in a passing rush, which Coutts spoiled, securing the ball and kicking finely downfield. The forwards dashed down and .spoilt the fullback’s return, and the ball went out in South Africa’s quarters. From the line-out a forward passed out to Roberts and he to Kingston, who essayed a pot and just failed to score the goal. The visitors forced. From the kick-out the visiting forwards got up a great attack, which Kingston nipped by taking from their feet and lining well down. Away went the Green forwards again, and, the ball! coming out to Michau, he passed to Clarkson, to Weepener, and H. Morkel dashed again for the line, but Kingston was in front and took the great three-quarter in fine style, just saving again. The ball went to touch and half-time, was called.

On resuming, the Taranaki forwards rushed up the kick and smothered the return and took the ball out in the Green’s 25’s. But the latter, with a magnificent forward rush, recovered and, Kingston failing to field a kick, they swarmed down on the line. Taranaki relieved, and play went up and down the field, good play being shown especially by Coutts, Hickey and R. Roberts. Springboks, headed by Roy Morkel, made a great dash for the line, but Atkins saved with a good kick. The Springboks again attacked but Sykes sent, them back with a great kick to touch. Taranaki were throwing the ball about well and keeping their opponents busy defending. A free kick relieved them till Taranaki forwards swept down again in typical rushes, and the ball coming out, R. Roberts dashed up and passed to Hickey who after a fine run was thrown out at the corner. Just here Hickey picking up had a quick shot at goal and the ball went over the bar, but was called back for an infringement. It was hard luck indeed. A great struggle took place just on the line, Taranaki straining every nerve to get across. The defence was sound, however, and shortly after the visitors rushed up field, and Meyer had an unsuccessful shot at goal. Roberts took and lined. From the throw-in, Michau secured and the ball went out to the three-quarters, but Roberts and Coutts spoilt a fine piece of passing. Taranaki forwards returned to the attack, and R. Roberts, securing the ball, lined almost at the corner flag. There was a great struggle just on the line, and Atkin, taking from a scrum, tried the blind side and passed to Hickey who, unfortunately, failed to take, and South Africa broke away and took play right back to near Taranaki line. Kingston saved in great style, and his forwards rushed up field. Hickey securing, lined well. From the line-out the forwards, headed by Cain, broke away in an irresistible loose rush and swarmed over the line, but kicked too hard, and the visitors were able to force down, Play was even and exciting as both sides strove hard to pierce the opposing defence. Michau took and passed out blind side to H. Morkel, who dashed for the line, but was capitally taken by Coutts. Back came the Greens, and a forward rush looked dangerous, but Coutts and R. Roberts by fine play relieved the pressure. South Africa playing magnificently set up another hot attack which Kingston spoilt by a wonderful piece of defence play, and sent back the forwards with a great kick. McAllum headed a fine rush, and a penalty relieved the local men. From scrum, Michau secured and passed to Weepener and he to H. Morkel, who was just collared on the line. Cain relieved with a timely kick and Taranaki rushed up field. It was just on time and both sides were straining every nerve to win. A long kick to line by one of the visiting backs and no-side was called. A great struggle ended amidst the utmost enthusiasm.

Mr F. C. Atkinson (Wanganui) capably controlled the game.

The Springboks went through by mail train to-day en route for Wellington. In conversation with a Star representative one of the team said that they were having a delightful time. They were very sorry naturally to have experienced wet weather on the weekend, which prevented their seeing as much of the mountain as they would have liked. Referring to football generual!y he said that the standard was very good in the Transvaal and all over the Dominion, much on a par, he should consider, with New Zealand football.? He considered that the Taranaki team played a fine game but that the damp ground was against their own style of play and the conditions to which they were generally used. They hoped to improve as the tour progressed and expected that the latter part of the tour would see the best football. Their teams were spread over wide areas and

consequently before they left they got comparatively little play together. They expected to thoroughly enjoy the tour through the ‘Dominion. Naturally, he added, “we are out to do our best and hope to beat the New Zealand teams if we can, especially if the grounds are dry.”


The teams.