May 20 1933
New Zealand win first of the season’s Universities’ test.
Since NZ Universities visited Sydney in 1908 to play three matches against the University of Sydney there had been a number of meetings, on both sides of the Tasman. In 1929 and again in 1933 the New Zealand team was opposed by Australian Universities, giving the contests something of a test match flavour.
In 1933 the Australian side had started with a fine win over Auckland University. But the New Zealand team proved a different and very impressive proposition in the first “test” match, as an enthusiastic “Auckland Star” reporter recounts:
‘VARSITIES” MATCH. NEW ZEALAND’S DECISIVE WIN. AUSTRALIA’S GAME FIGHT.
Raked ‘fore and aft by a great loose pack of forwards, and bewildered by a set of backs that played brilliant football, the Australian Universities’ touring side was decisively beaten by the New Zealand University All Blacks at Eden Bark on Saturday. Upwards of 12,000 people watched the triumph of the home side by 28 points to 8. There were many who thought that the Australians, after their spectacular exhibition last Wednesday against Auckland, would run the New Zealanders to a close finish. But it was not to be. It was a great game, clean, decisive, frequently brilliant. The New Zealanders were in the ascendant throughout. For Australia it.could only be said—they were beaten by a better team.
The Rugby standards of Wednesday and Saturday differed. The Australians’ match against Auckland University on Wednesday produced much brilliant play. So did Saturday’s Test, but the difference was that the University All Blacks produced finished football. Wednesday’s match was thrilling, but it was flippant, care-free football. The All Blacks played with understanding. There was design in every move. Australia held an advantage in only one phase—in the tight. They were heavier than the New Zealand pack, and it was in the tight that they did the most damage. In loose forward work they were shaded by forwards who were adepts with their hands as well as their feet.
Game Tactics. Australia played up to the best spirit and traditions of their own game—they opened up attacks under their own goal posts when defeat was staring them in the face – but they were opposed by a side that played up to all the best and most telling traditions of the All Blacks. There were glorious loose forward rushes in which the ball was handed from one to the other with unerring accuracy, sweeping three-quarter line movements that sent the spectators into bursts of wild enthusiasm, clever individual work by first a forward and then a back.
New Zealand triumphed for several reasons. They were served by a back line that at times reached superlative heights, a back line that made and accepted golden opportunity, a back line that was fleet in pursuit and possession, a back line of real ability and football brains. They were served, too, by a tenacious van, a pack which played in telling fashion, a pack which was clever enough to beat the Australians at their own game. On the other hand, Australia lost because their forwards were overshadowed by the clever work of the New Zealand pack in the loose, and because their backs could not cope with the varied tactics of the New Zealand rearguard. When in possession, the inside backs were frequently slow oft the mark, and the New Zealand backs moved up so fast that many an attack was crippled before it was half developed. All through, the Australians battled gamely against a better balanced side and a better set of tacticians. The problem was too big for them.
Real Leadership. There was no question about the all round ability of the New Zealanders. There were many desperate attacks by the Australians, but never did the New Zealand defence falter. As a loose forward, Andrews was outstanding, in fact, he was the best loose forward on the ground, always on the ball, always with an eager eye for an opening. The pack was splendidly led by Diedrich, the. captain, who urged his men on with real leadership. He played by far the most sound forward game on the field. Drake, the Aucklander, ,was a worthy second fiddle to Diedrich, with Wells, of Wellington, and Hartnell, of Canterbury, also doing excellent work. The tall and burly Robertson was again the leader of the Australian pack, and he was given solid assistance by Elias, Mackey and Theodore.
New Zealand’s backs did many delightful things. After a suspicious opening, Rae, of Otago, showed himself to be a half-back of many talents. He gave generous service from the base with accurate passes, and varied his play with clever bursts round either side of the scrum. He was quick to cover up in defence and once or twice snatched the ball from the very feet of the Australian forwards to whip away with a deft sidestep and accurate stab-kick to the line. Uttley was sound. He took and gave his passes with few faults, and if he had not done his job as he did, the players outside him would not have had half as many opportunities to display their talents.
Trenchant Five-eighths. At second five-eighths, Fookes, of Otago, proved himself to be a player of real ability. In the.early stages there were cries of annoyance when he kicked, but he kicked with rare appreciation—always to a gap. From one of these kicks Caughey scored. The trenchant play of Fookes was always a puzzle to the Aus-, tralian defence. There were times .when he flashed away so quickly that not even the New Zealand hacks could keep pace with him. His was a brilliant exhibition, equally good in defence and attack. And the three-quarter line. They played pure, unalloyed football, cleverly directed by the Aucklander, Caughey, who once again gave an exhibition of brilliant centre three-quarter play. He plied his men round him with subtle and generous touch, conjured, side-stepped, swerved until the Australian defence was bewildered by the storm which raged on their line. Both wings, Milliken, of Auckland, and Dunne, of Otago, rose to the heights. They collaborated with their centre in telling fashion and frequently sailed away with glorious runs down the side line.They were two worthy wings to a worthy; second five-eighth and centre. And Bush, the Auckland full-back—he came right back to give of his best. The sluggishness of. earlier matches this season had gone, and in its place came long and accurate touch-finding, speed in getting out of difficulties, an eye for an opening that led to a try, and .goal-kicking that was like the old Bush.
In the play of the Australian backs, there was little that could be discussed or praised, save the clever work of Westfield, the full-back, who again showed himself to be a player of class, and Kennedy, the captain, whose lithe swerve and dazzling side-step earned him a brilliant try. The play of the Australian insides is another story.
The Scoring Movements,
It was not long after the start that New Zealand’s first try came. Fookes kicked to a gap on the grandstand flank, and the New Zealand three-quarters moved up in full cry. Westfield fumbled the high ball, and Caughey kicked past him. The ball bounced nicely for the centre, who clapped on the pace to score in the corner. Bush converted with a great kick. New Zealand 5, Australia 0. Two splendid attacks by the New Zealand backs led to another try. Rae, Caughey and Dunne went away in a pretty blind side movement. The wing raced to Westfield, and sent a beautiful reverse pass to Caughey, for the centre to score his second try, this, time behind the posts. Rae converted. New Zealand 10, Australia 0.
Australia’s first try came when the spell was half over. A combined rush took play from their twenty-five to past half-way, and in another fast attack Kennedy, with plenty of pace and resource, swerved his way through the opposition to score a spectacular try on the terrace side. Westfield missed the kick by inches. New Zealand 10, Australia 3. New Zealand’s next try was the reward of fast following up. Rae .opened out to send Caughey and Milliken away. The wing put in a great run down the line, and before he was beautifully tackled by Westfield, he sent a perfect centring kick to his forwards. Andrews gathered it in and dived over. Rae converted, and the score at half time was New Zealand 15, Australia 3.
Brilliant Backs. Two Australian forward efforts shortly after the opening of the second spell deserved to succeed, but on both occasions the forwards lost the ball when within striking distance. Pearson compensated for their misfortunes with a brilliant burst round the blind side. He raced to Bush and passed infield to Mackey, who ran round behind the posts. Westfield converted. New Zealand 15, Australia 8. From flank to flank swung the New Zealand attack. The ball came out to Caughey who, with bewildering side-step, beat his man, and ran Milliken into position for another spectacular try. Bush again goaled from a wide angle. New Zealand. 20, Australia 8. The next try by the All Blacks was another delightful piece of work. Bush raced up with all speed to take a high ball on the full, and sent his three-quarter line away. Caughey beat several men in brilliant fashion, and sent the ball to Milliken who, with admirable determination, scored in the corner with a desperate dive. Bush missed the kick. New Zealand 23, Australia 8. One more try was to come New Zealand’s way. A whirlwind forward rush took play to the Australian twenty-five. Rae fed his backs, and when the ball reached Fookes he side-stepped his man, unloaded quickly to Caughey, and in a glorious burst down the line Dunne scored wide out. Bush converted with a great kick. So the game ended New Zealand 28 Australia 8.
Mr C. F. Paull was referee.
DOMINION XV. FOR SECOND TEST. Saturday was a bright day for the ‘Varsity footballers, for, apart from the match there was a round of entertainments, at which all the members of both teams foregathered. In the morning they were the guests of Messrs. Milne and Choyce at morning tea (Mr. Norman Milliard, the old Otago ‘Varsity and Rugby Union blue, who is New Zealand sole selector, being among those present). At 6.30 there was a very bright dinner at the Royal Hotel (where Skipper A. K. Kennedy was again the “lion” of the evening), and later an even brighter cabaret party at Dixieland—the scenes at Point Chevalier rivalling those on the night of the third British Test on July 29, 1930.
The Auckland station platform was crowded last night when the Australians left by the Limited for Wellington; The Australians’ programme for the remainder of the tour is:— May 24.—Play Victoria College, at Athletic Park.
May 27.—Play New Zealand University, second Test, at Carisbrook.
May 31.—Play Otago University, at Carisbrook.
June 3.—Play New Zealand University, third Test, at Lancaster Park.
June 7.—Play Canterbury College, at Lancaster Park.
June 9.—Leave Wellington for Sydney.
Following is the team for the second Test at Carisbrook next Saturday:— Full-back.—Ruff (Otago). Three-quarters. — Dunne (Otago), Caughey (Auckland), Hislop (Wellington). Five-eighths.—Fookes (Otago), Uttley (Otago). Half-back—Rae (Otago). Forwards. — Andrews (Canterbury), Wells (Wellington), Drake (Auckland), Hartnell (Canterbury), Hamilton (Otago). Deidrich (Wellington), Service (Otago), Edwards (Wellington).
Bush, Milliken and Anderson, Aucklanders, were not available.
New Zealand 28. T H C Caughey (2), W M Milliken (2), A H Andrews and W T Dunne tries. R G Bush (3) and G G Rae (2) con.
Australia 8. Kennedy, Mackey tries. Westfield con.