New Rugbyland: Remembering England’s tour to New Zealand

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This is an extract from Jonny King’s new book New Rugbyland.

Of all the sides in the International Code, I think it is fair to opine the bastion of English rugby has most aggressively sought to subvert the brand of New Zealand rugby brutality. A less than accepting response to the Haka, all part of breaking the bank. It is true, South Africa, has the bravado and playing-beast to over-run on their day, but there is genuine mutual respect. Questions can be asked whether this borders on awe of our interconnected past; where on occasions, the Springboks will pay too much of a price when they play. Can you live such a disjunctive and contrastive reality, on and off, the field?

There is also near-neighbour-maaaate, Australia, who still survive on scar-tissue remembrances of a stolen rugby generation. Stolen? There were multiple; when they proved that 80 was just enough; taking the victory when the clock was most painful for the opposition. And of course, you do not need copious recitations on Les Bleus. New Zealand rugby folk have had intimate relations with the French. Akaroa. This is not a reference to the Battle of Nantes, nor to the travails of Buck Shelford, down below. The Rainbow Warrior, an appropriate metaphor for the times when our dreams of World Cup glory were sunk. Sacre Bleu. Merci. No Mas. The pain was felt multi-lingual.

While these nations have all had their moments, and some more than others – Here’s looking at you, South Africa – as I write this day, it is as if the present-day English set-up have become closest at decoding the All Blacks program of mass rugby destruction. All Blacks rugby has found the Red Rose more akin to a thorn in their side, making any “painful” excursion to Twickenham, one loss to be remembered; that must be redeemed.

Must! Who can forget how the All Blacks would have a whale of the time in 1995 when Jonah would show unusual gifts on the left wing. That was payback. It was as if Lomu owned the Mike, not to mention Keith Quinn’s now famous commentary conceptions. Quinn would struggle to articulate the immensity charging like a Rhino on an African plain – Ohh-Ohhh-Ohhhh! And we would understand completely. Before this line gets away, there is another referent.

In the World Cup year of 2003, in the New Zealand Capital of all places, an aging English side – who do you think you are kidding Martin Johnson – would provide sustenance for a looming ordeal; the world of rugby summit. When on the Back of a Jonny-gone-recently (there is much respect), that English side would create some myth of their own. God bless the Convicts. Experience definitively counts at the International level, so goes the pounding of the rugby pulpit, and that 2003 English side had it in grey. When one considers this All Blacks side of the future world event in 2015, there are some positive reflections. But, we are just beginning this Test Series, so there is plenty of time to communicate copious lines.

Like what you see? To order Jonny’s new book, click here.

By Jonny King (@iamjonnyking)

3 thoughts on “New Rugbyland: Remembering England’s tour to New Zealand

  1. ‘New Zealand rugby brutality’? Wot, no skill? Didn’t Jonny boy watch the last test?

    And ain’t it strange that ‘scar-tissue’ Australia are still above England in the rankings?

    ‘All Blacks rugby has found the Red Rose more akin to a thorn in their side, making any “painful” excursion to Twickenham, one loss to be remembered; that must be redeemed’. That’s forgetting the small matter of a 3 zip loss in NZ of course, but hey, why worry abour reality when you have a book to sell?

    The oldest ones are obviously the best to be recycled & recycled & recycled & er, recycled. ‘And of course, you do not need copious recitations on Les Bleus. New Zealand rugby folk have had intimate relations with the French’. Ho, hum. Just for a touch of reality & that nasty word ‘objectivity’, NZ, for the record, have put France out of 2 WC finals. But recycled oldies are best to bolster the inferiority complex I guess.

    ‘Here’s looking at you, South Africa – as I write this day, it is as if the present-day English set-up have become closest at decoding the All Blacks program…’. Yeah, well I’m sure all Saffas will agree with this one.

    And ‘World Cup year of 2003…’ Agincourt, Dunkirke, Waterloo et al, ancient ‘English side creating myths’, double ho hum. Good to keep looking backwards… & the comedy is even better than that of the Grey Horse in Kingston! E.g., ‘God bless the Convicts’. Tears running down me cheeks cobber!

    Can’t wait to read more of the book’s ‘copious lines’.

    Oh dear, have some mercy, please!

    Au revoir.

    PS Agree about keith Quinn though. Johnny should get on gr8 guns with him innit.

  2. DonP – a quick Google search shows me that the author is not just a Kiwi and an AB fan but is/was the “resident scribe of the-then All Blacks Official Fan Club – BackingBlack – throughout the entirety of its existence”

    So your knee-jerk. chip-on-shoulder routine looks pretty silly here

  3. Pablito

    What chip, knee jerk?

    My comments stand, or not, whatever the author’s nationality, which is irrelevant, as it’s surely his commentary which ‘looks pretty silly here’.

    Glad to know that you have mastered Google though.

    Nos vemos, little Pablo.

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