March 31 1946

The “Kiwis” tour ends, or so everyone thought, in Paris.

The “Kiwis” tour ended, or so everyone thought, after 33 matches, with a 24 – 13 win over a competitive L’Ile de France at Colombes Stadium, Paris. It was not the comfortable win the New Zealanders expected and no one did more to save the “Kiwis” than centre Johnny Smith whose defence was “marvellous”.

Johnny Smith - marvellous defence.

“33rd Match V
v. L’IIe de France, at Colombes Stadium, Paris

The last match of the overseas tour—and it was regarded as a cinch, and treated as such accordingly. Except for that exceptionally good hooker, Volot, all the opposition were new to us. We got to know them better as the game went on. The ground was like iron. It looked like “money from home,” when one minute after the start of the game, from a ruck on the French twenty-five, Allen got the ball from Saxton on the blind-side, side-stepped infield and passed to Woolley, who scored 12 yards from the right-hand corner. Cook missed, and it was 3-nil.

After seven minutes, Crabos missed kicking a penalty. If only the French could place-kick like they can drop-kick! That’s what happened next, however, and it was a remarkable goal. From a line-out, five yards inside the New Zealand twenty-five, on the “Kiwi” left-wing, the ball went from Jorge to Ithurbide, who sent a poor pass to Bellouin. He bent to pick it up, and as he did so, without straightening up he let drive with his boot and “potted” a magnificent goal, putting L’Ile de France ahead 3-4 after 16 minutes of play. It was the French team all the way now for the next 15 minutes. Never was the “Kiwi” defence so sorely tested, and never did one man do so much to keep the attack at bay than did Smith. He was marvellous. Allen looked sore and tired, and I think he’d have appreciated a seat in the grandstand, and would have been pleased to have seen King playing —particularly after his fine effort in the previous match. At 24 minutes even Smith couldn’t stop the French forwards, and Adami scored in the corner. Crabos missed. 3-7.

It came as a relief when Cook after placing the ball on the half-way line, 15 yards from the ‘‘Kiwi’’ left-wing, kicked a grand goal. 6-7.

Back came the French, and Smith picked up inside his twenty-five and kicked ahead for Sherratt. The ball bounced over Sherratt’s head on the New Zealand 10-yard line, and ten yards from touch, but Smith was there to boot it ahead again to just inside half-way. Another little kick and Rhind was up to gather in half-way between the goal-line and half-way, and he raced away on his own to score under the bar, and to make an easy kick for Cook. 11-7. There was no further score at half-time.

 The ‘‘Kiwis” were penalised exactly one minute after the resumption, and Jorge drop-kicked a 45-yard penalty,11-10—not so good.

Six minutes later in the French twenty-five, Saxton sent the ball from a scrum to Allen, to Dobson, to Smith, who burst past his man. The winger came in to get Smith, so “Johnny” did the obvious and sent Meates over in the corner. Cook missed. 14 10.

At ten minutes, Cook took the ball outside his twenty-five and ran to half-way, where he and Dobson tried a “scissors.” It didn’t work, the ball dropped to the ground and Place scored in the corner. Jorge missed the kick. 14-13. Things looked grim.

It was all L’Ile de France for the next quarter-of-an-hour, and the crowd were in a frenzy. Then Allen did his usual; from
a ruck just outside the New Zealand twenty-five, Saxton passed to Allen on the blind-side. He ran hard to the full-back on the half-way line and sent Sherratt away on a 55-yard run to score a much-needed try, between the posts. Cook kicked the goal, and the ‘‘Kiwi” tally became 600 points exactly for the tour. 19-13.

That looked better as our opponents had to score twice to even draw now. They tried hard too. At 38 minutes from a scrum in the New Zealand twenty-five, Saxton passed to Allen, to Dobson. Smith went behind Dobson for a successful scissors, and beat man after man before he “made” Sherratt half-way between the twenty-five and half-way in the French zone. Sherratt galloped away to score again, much to the delight of the Paris crowd. Cook converted, to make the final score 24-13, and his personal tally 129 points.

 What a pity Bob Scott hadn’t got his 100 points. It would have been quite a record – unique – for two full-backs to reach the century in kicks on a tour.”

From “Broadcasting with the Kiwis” by Winston McCarthy. Pub. By Sporting Publications 1947. Pp. 99-100.

The teams.