May 7 1920
NZ Army beat Wellington.
The New Zealand Army team that won the King’s Cup in England in 1919 and then successfully toured South Africa came together again to play Wellington, with the Prince of Wales in attendance.
A feature of the Army team selection was the inclusion of “Ranji” Wilson who had been part of the King’s Cup winning team but had been unable to tour South Africa because of his colour (he was of English/West Indian descent).
“PRINCE WATCHES RUGBY
ENTHUSIASTIC SPORTS CROWD
ARMY TEAM DEFEAT WELLINGTON.
It is truly said that much of England’s greatness has been built up on the field of play. The spirit which permeated Rugby football from its inception—it had its birthplace at Rugby School in the first half of the nineteenth century—was sportsmanlike and pure. With this legacy New Zealand has played the game for the game’s sake, and has thus helped to strengthen that great bond of unity, the brotherhood of sport. In no small measure has Rugby produced that type of manhood which so largely helped to give the British Empire the proud position it holds today. During those four years on service, which the Prince has spoken of as giving him his manhood, he was brought into close touch with the sporting spirit of the troops. He saw them as soldiers, and as sports. They, in return, soon found in him a sport in the true sense of the term. To this Dominion he has cone as a sport. Not the least of all on whom he has made this impression are those thousands who assembled at the Athletic Park yesterday afternoon to welcome their Prince at an exhibition of New Zealand’s national game.
The Prince’s attitude yesterday firmly established in the minds of about fourteen thousand people his genuine love for clean, manly sport. His entrance on the field by motor brought forth a tremendous volume of cheers from all sides, followed by the National Anthem, played by the band of H.M.S. Renown; but when he made a tour round the field, the while standing in his car, the huge crowd rose and cheered even more lustily until the car drew up in front of the Royal box, situated in the centre of the stand. Here, on alighting from the car, the Prince was received by Dr. A. K. Newman, M.P. (president), Mr. J. P. Firth (vice-president), and Mr. W. Hornig (chairman) of the Wellington Rugby Union, these officials being introduced by the Prime Minister (the Right Hon. W. F. Massey). The teams then filed past the Prince, each member and the two managers (Lieutenant R. W. Baumgart and Mr. A. J. Griffiths) shaking his left hand. A small boy, Jack Griffiths, wearing a gold-braided Rugby representative cap, presented to His Royal Highness an official programme contained in a folding leather pad, bearing the Prince’s Coat-of-Arms worked in gold. A pleasant acknowledgment was made by the Prince, who, after being cheered by the players, took his seat in the Royal box. For some twenty minutes the Prince followed the game with evident interest, and when he had to leave to take up his other engagement he expressed to the officials keen disappointment at not being able to witness the remainder of play. Three cheers by the players and a further demonstration by the spectators provided a rousing “send-off.”
Among those present were Sir Lionel Halsey and the Prince’s staff, the Prime Minister, the Hons. J. G. Coates and D. H. Guthrie, the Mayor (Mr. J. P. Luke), and Mr. Glenn, M.P. (a member of the original “All Blacks”). In honour of the occasion, the Wellington Rugby Union distributed a number of inscribed leather programme pads. All arrangements for the match were excellently carried out by Rugby Union official, assisted by members of the Hockey and Athletic Associations, under the supervision of Mr. W. Hornig, with Mr. F. J. McComisky as secretary, and Mr. Thomas as treasurer. Enjoyable music was supplied by the band of H.M.S. Renown.
The meeting of the New Zealand Army Services team, winners of the King’s Cup, and the Wellington representatives, holders of the Ranfurly Shield, provided one of the most interesting contests that have been witnessed in Wellington. Much was expected of the Army team, and from various quarters great things were looked for from Wellington. Play was strenuous throughout, but by reason of their experience in- hard-fought contests overseas together with their superior strength, the Army men outplayed their opponents towards the end of the game. The first spell was in Wellington’s favour, the local men showing far better combination than their redoubtable opponents. While some of the King’s Cup winners played up to their reputation, others did not. Moffitt was the outstanding forward, Bellis played well, and E. Ryan was the best back on the field. Ford showed plenty of pace, and O’Brien was most reliable at full-back. Conditions were ideal.
The teams were as follow :
New Zealand Army (all black). —Full-back J. O’Brien; three-quarters, W. Ford, R. Roberts, and P. Storey ; five eighths, E. Ryan and D. Sandman; half, C. Brown; wing-forward, A. Singe; forwards, E. Hasell, M. Cain, J. Moffitt, A. Wilson (captain), A. West, R. Fogarty, and E. Bellis.
Wellington (white).—Full-back, Malin; three-quarters, McArthur, Algar, and Barker; five-eighths, J Tilyard and Corner; half, E. Roberts; wing-forward, Calcinai ; forwards, Elliott, S. Shearer, Eberhardt, W. Ryan, Paton, J. Shearer, and De Clifton.
Determined aggression on the part of the local men, who lost the toss, marked the opening stages of the game. After McArthur had made one strong dash towards the opposing line, temporary relief was brought to the Blacks by a free-kick. While the Wellington forwards pressed with persistence the backs kept in readiness for work immediately E. Roberts made the necessary opening. This came, but was lost, and scrambly play ensued, until the Wellington skipper again saw a chance. He whipped the ball out to Corner, who took it well and transferred to J. Tilyard; Algar made no mistake with his pass, and Barker finally completed a splendid passing bout by scoring near the corner. Malin’s kick failed. Wellington 3 N.Z. Army Team 0.
An Army advance followed, E. Ryan gaining further ground by a free-kick. During a scramble an infringement gave West an attempt to place a goal, but without result. Play was quickly transferred to the Army’s danger zone, Corner and J. Shearer endeavouring to break through. The ball was dropped and kicked aoross the line, and Calcinai was handy enough to dive after it, scoring Wellington’s second try. Malin converted. Wellington 8 N.Z. Army 0.
Thereafter there was much strenuous forward play, together with an interchange of kicks, for the most part in the Blacks’ favour. Pressure on either side was momentarily relieved by the two half-backs bringing off good marks. Eventually a fine kick by Malin gave the Whites an advantage, but strong individual work by Storey, E. Ryan, and Singe changed matters. An open bout, in which Storey, Sandman, and Wilson stood out, ended in a vigorous scramble, from which the Blacks were awarded a free-kick. Hasell goaled, but as the ball had touched an opponent before going over the points were not allowed.
A brief adjournment was made while the Prince took his departure, and then the struggle was resumed in a vigorous manner. Efforts by the White backs to get away had no material result, and failure also attended two attempts by Tilyard and E. Roberts to pot goals. The ball was taken, mostly by the forwards, from one end of the field to the other at intervals, the Blacks displaying more concerted action than hitherto. E. Ryan was doing great work in the Army back division. When in White territory a lively, though ragged, movement gave Moffitt a chance which was accepted, that player diving over near the touchline. A good kick by R. Roberts fell short. Wellington 8 N.Z. Army 3.
O’Brien and E. Ryan led the Blacks again in attack, only to find a big hurdle in Corner. But at length Sandman made matters dangerous for Wellington by brilliantly breaking through a scramble. The ball was thrown about for a few seconds, until secured by Moffitt, who repeated his previous effort. R. Roberts failed with a difficult kick. Half-time sounded almost immediately with the scores: — Wellington 8 N.Z. Army 6.
The strength of the Army forwards, well supported by their backs, individually rather than in combination, placed a different complexion on matters in the second spell. Their play showed a glimpse of what might be expected from the winners of a strenuous inter-service tourney, the strength of hard experience and weight almost overpowering the local men. Wellington were soon in difficulties, and it was not long before Storey made good use of his experience, neatly securing and scoring from a line-out. R. Robert’s kick fell short. N.Z. Army 9 Wellington 8.
Wellington’s defence was now being sorely tried. McArthur and J. Tilyard stemmed two strong forward rushes. Then Algar broke away, but his progress was soon impeded. Calcinai and Paton were next prominent in a forward movement. It ended in a vigorous scramble, after which a fair amount of long kicking was indulged in. Again play was monopolised by the forwards. Singe and Moffitt met with bad luck in at least one dangerous Army rush, while a little later Malin brought off a good save. For a time Wellington rallied, but Ford replied with a fast sprint up the line, only to be pushed out when within scoring distance. A brief attack by the Whites, and the Army men were again within striking distance, Bellis finally obtaining a good try, which O’Brien converted. N.Z. Army 14 Wellington 8.
At this stage J. Shearer retired hurt, and his place was taken by Baker. In the play which followed E. Roberts made several bright endeavours to give his team an advantage, but the Black defence was solid. Willing forward play, with many free-kicks, ensued. The Army men were at length favoured; E. Ryan being mainly responsible for a try to Hasell, who touched down after Bellis had just failed to fall on the leather. Hasell failed with the kick. 17-8.
The New Zealanders continued to hammer at Wellington’s line, Ford and Roberts showing plenty of dash. From a scramble the ball was kicked across, enabling Bellis to sprint up and add a try, which Singe failed to convert. The next score came from a poor speculative kick by a Wellington player during a scramble on the line, giving West an easy try. Singe’s kick was charged down by Calcinai. Renewed pressure by the Blacks marked the concluding stages, and Malin had just saved another attack when time sounded. The final result was: — N.Z. Army 23 Wellington 8 .
Mr. R. Simpson was the referee, and Sergt.-Major Houlihan and Mr. A. C. Kitto acted as linesmen.”