June 17 1950

Lions too pacey for Hawkes Bay.

Captained by All Black Harry Frazer and with a number of players with experience above provincial level Hawkes Bay were seen as likely to prove a good test for the 1950 Lions. The tourists put out a strong side against them and were rewarded with a satisfying and convincing win.

The match programme.

“12. Beat Hawkes Bay 20-0

Saturday 17 June 1950 at McLean Park, Napier

Hawke’s Bay were led out by Harry Frazer, a much-travelled thirty-four-year-old forward who had played for New Zealand at both prop and in the second row. The province was regarded as a stronger unit than the combined sides that had been swept aside by the Lions on tour but their fans were in for a rude awakening. On a damp day, the pace of the game proved too much for the home side. Kyle was again in top form and was well served by a pack that prevailed in the set-pieces by winning the lineouts 47-18 and scrums 17-10. However, it was all of seventeen minutes before the Lions scored the first points. .A feature of the early exchanges had been Hawke’s Bay’s readiness to test the offside line to the limit and that, augmented by wing-forward Peter Hapi’s very apparent appetite for late-tackling Rimmer, had disrupted the backs’ fluency. But it was equally obvious that Kyle was in top form and that Williams and Matthews had the wit to chip kicks over the swarming midfield defence. Malcolm Thomas kicked the first penalty goal and though he hit an upright with another attempt after Hapi had again been whistled up, he did create a try for Nelson in the twenty-eighth minute. The forward exchanges were notably robust but the Lions were succeeding in their attempts to play an expansive game. In the thirty-seventh minute, Kyle again sparked a Matthews’ break and Williams’ pace and side-step did the rest for a classic try in the corner and a half-time lead of 9-0.

Five minutes into the second period Hapi was again the culprit as Rimmer was illegally tackled. The distance to the posts was at least forty-five yards and near the touchline but, to everyone’s delight, Tommy Clifford, who had been threatening to kick a monster goal all tour, blasted the ball over with something to spare. Though both he and Thomas failed with their next efforts, the prop kicked another penalty goal from twenty-five yards at the start of the final quarter. This was soon followed by a moment of brilliance from Kyle, aided by a decoy run from Matthews. Receiving the ball from a scrum the fly half raced through a huge gap as three defenders chased Matthews on a dummy scissors move that was completed with text-book efficiency under the posts. Thomas’ conversion completed a twenty-point hammering of Hawke’s Bay.

Hawke ‘s Bay: B.A.Wishnowsky, B.A. Sweet, R.L. Price, D.P. Motley, W A. Riddell, J.R. Bullick, T.L. Ingram, N. Sumrnersby, G.K. Parahi, B.G. Russell, H.F. Frazer (capt.),T.H. Bowden,J. Danielson, R.A. Small, P. Hapi

British Isles: Cleaver, K.J.Jones, Matthews,Williams,Thomas, Kyle, Rimmer, C. Davies, Mullen (capt.), Clifford, Hayward, Nelson, Evans, John, McCarthy.


Lions 20. Tries – Nelson, Williams, Kyle; Conversion —Thomas; Penalties – Clifford (2),Thomas

Referee: J.G. Fitzpatrick (Wellington)

Attendance: 13,000

Ground conditions: Wet surface but firm underfoot

Not surprisingly, the over-vigorous approach of the Bay forwards attracted some criticism after the match. Yet it worked in the Lions’ favour as their reaction to it had seen them gain further esteem among local critics. One of them wrote: ‘The Britons proved that they are real Sheffield steel, and some critics who have doubted whether the visiting forwards can stand up to that kind of treatment would have been enlightened.’ As the team spent the rest of the weekend sight-seeing around Napier, the news came through that Lewis Jones had arrived in Auckland and would be joining them in Gisborne fit and ready to play in the next match.”

From “LIONS DOWN UNDER 1950” by Alan Evans. Published 2006 Stadia (Tempus Publishing Ltd). Pp 94-96.

Harry Frazer - Hawkes Bay captain.