October 1 1960
All Blacks defeat the Rest
All Black teams have long played pre-tour and post-tour matches, not always successfully. The first New Zealand team, in 1884, played and beat a Wellington XV 9 – 0, on Newton Park. Conditions were so bad that the match was delayed a day and the playing time shortened to 25 minute spells. The s.s. Hauroto held her sailing until the end of the match to allow the team to embark.
The 1924/5 “Invincibles” played four matches in Australia and two in New Zealand before leaving for Britain. Their performances, including losses to New South Wales and Auckland, gave rise to some criticism, with 1903-06 All Black George Tyler proclaiming them “The weakest team New Zealand has ever had – weak in the scrums, weak on defence and lacking in pace sums up the present All Black team”. The side in fact was undefeated in 32 matches in the British Isles, France and Canada.
Injuries are very much part of the rugby scene and touring teams are effected like any other team. Hawkes Bay wing Ray Williams was selected to tour Australia in 1932 but was injured in the preliminary match against Wellington, missed the tour and did not play first class rugby again.
All Black teams have been beaten before departure e g 1903 by Wellington Province 5 – 14, 1905 by Wellington Province 0 – 3, 1924 by Auckland 3 – 14 and on a number of other occasions. They have also lost on their return home, despite have performed well overseas Examples include: 1897: 10 – 11 v Auckland, 1947: 3 – 14 v Auckland and 1957: 9 – 11 v Canterbury.
But the 1960 All Blacks avoided the banana skin nature of the match v the Rest and came away with a 20 – 8 (four tries to one) victory.