March 27 1889

A win, but a lack-lustre end to “Natives” tour.

The “Natives” tour of the British Isles ended at Leyton with a low key win over Southern Counties. But, after six months and over 70 games, there were disappointing aspects to the circumstances surrounding the match and it was a rather sad ending to a really remarkable tour.  

Davey Gage - try scorer.


THEIR FINAL VICTORY. London, March 28.

 The Maori Football.Team played their last match to-day, defeating the Southern counties of England by three tries to one. In the course of an interview, Scott, manager of the Maori Football Team, said their record of 49 wins out of 73 matches was unequalled. The tour had paid slightly more than expenses. They proposed to play two months in Australia and one in New Zealand before disbanding.”——-10–1—-0–&st=1



After a somewhat uninteresting game, we won this last match.

Score: Natives – 3 tries.

Southern Counties –1 try.

On the 29th March the players – 25 – left Tilbury Docks by the s.s. Oroya, for Melbourne. On the 5th April H J Wynyard and I followed by the P & O s.s. Oceana”

From “RUGBY FOOTBALL AND THE TOUR OF THE NATIVE TEAM”, compiled by T Eyton. Published 1896.P. 67.

“Arriving back in London on 26 March, the Native team found that little had changed in the minds of the Rugby Football Union and the sporting press. For a time the planned last match of the tour was in danger of cancellation as Surrey, Middlesex, London Scottish and United Hospitals all declined to provide opposition, although their reasons for doing so were not recorded. Eventually a Southern Counties team was assembled, though it was scarcely worthy of that designation as most of the players were drawn from the minor Essex and Sussex teams. The visitors even provided the referee, Joe Warbrick. In a very dull match, tries to Elliot, Gage and Fred Warbrick contributed to a 3-1 victory, the team’s forty-ninth in Britain.

Immediately the Lyttelton Times correspondent attacked the Rugby Football Union for its handling of the match and the tour as a whole.
The Rugby Union, I am ashamed to say, has allowed the New Zealanders to leave without offering them the faintest valedictory hospitality. The lack of courtesy with which the team has from first to last been treated in London has been scandalous.

The Sportsman also felt sympathy for the team and pointed to a dramatic shift in attitude by the Union.
[W]ithout wishing for one moment to defend the behaviour of certain of the players at Blackheath last month, some pity could not but be expressed that the farewell engagement of the dusky colonials should be brought off without the kindly countenance of the rugby governing body, who in the arrangement of the programme had at the outset done their level best to render the tour a success.”

 From “Forerunners of the All Blacks” by Greg Ryan. Published 1993 by Canterbury University Press. P.99.

The teams .