SPORT AND PASTIME.
Football. RUUBY. [By Ex-FoitWAED.] Here are some extracts from the last number of the Sydney Referee to hand :— The introduction of fresh blood from New Zealand has vastly improved the Marriokville team, Avhich defeated University a fortnight ago, for those members who figured iii badge games last year have on the whole, improved beyond recognition. When Ward, of Marrickville, came across from New Zealand, 1 received a couple of letters, in which his reputation as a five-eights was mewCioned as of the highest. One writer said fie was superior to Duncan, who was over here with the last New Zealand team. He is younger and faster than Duncan, and plays a similar game to the latter. If Ward has not been playing above his average form, he is in attack one of the best men in the position ever seen in Sydney. It is worthy of note by our young players and junior teams that Ward's passes are low and quick, and he invariable has his man going fast before he sends the ball to him. Most of the Sydney five-eights are standing still when they get the ball from the scrum half. Ward, on the other hand, is often well into his stride when he gets it. Another point worthy of remark, is that Ward throws the ball in from touch, and also puts the ball into the scrum. This, as has often been pointed out in these columns, is also the custom observed in England, Scotland, Wales, and also Ireland, the present British champions at Rugby. In putting the ball into the scrum Ward stands about a yard or more clear of the forwards, holds each end of the ball with one hand, and then fairly rolls it into the scrum, with the ends facing the opposing 'forwards. Purdue and Davis, of the Marrickville forwards, are also but recent arrivals from New 1 Zealand. They are a fine stamp of player, powerful and fast. Purdue did some particularly clever dribbling during the 'Yar^ity match, and also showed that he is a sound place-kick — a branch of play in which forwards usually do not shine. Hardcastle, as usual, played a hard, ding-dong game for his side (Sydney), and got both tries against Parramatta. In the last seven matches between New Zealand and New South Wales, the colonies have won alternately, a fact which would argue equality in the football of the two colonies. Yet such is not the case, as everyone knows that our Maorilaild cousins are the more proficient. In those seven matches New Zealand has scored 89 points to 74. J. F. Byrne, the English full-back, was compelled, owing to pressure of business, to refrain froir joining the team for Australia. For the same reason he feared ho would be unable to assist Warwickshire at cricket this season. The colours of the English team are red, white, and blue hooped jersies, blue stockings, with red and white tops, blue serge knickerbockers, maroon caps with a kangaroo marked in front. The blazers will be of dark blue, with a design emblematic of the four couutries. The players composing tEe English team had arranged to meet at Charing Cross station on the 9th inst., and to proceed to Marseilles, where they were to join the P. and O. steamer Oceana- on the 9th inst, and Anticipate reaching Adelaide on June 12th, and arriving at Sydney about the 14th. The first match it against New South Wales, and it will be played on June 17th. Ifc will thus be seen that they will not have much time on land for the purpose of training, but being aware of that fact, Mr. Mullineux had arranged for tho men to keep in condition on board ship. The initial movement in connection with the tour, writes "Full Back," in the Sydney Mail, was commenced in 1897, and though the work of organisation was pushed on as much as possible, it was found too late to make the necessary arrangements for a visit in 1898. The N.S.W. Rugby Union renewed the invitation for Iby9. Difficulties, however, arose owing to the South African Union forwarding the English Union an invitation to send a team there this year. The English Union then required Mr. Mullineux to show it that he could get a team up if the South African invitation were not accepted. There were several interviews between the Union and Mr. Mullineux but it was not till February last that the South African tour was abandoned. Probably this accounts for the cable message received from England which was construed to mean that the Australian tour , had been abandoned. Evidently it should have referred to the abandonment of the South African tour. By the mail of the 9th inst. Mr. W. A. Rand, the Hon. ! Secretary of the New South Wales Rugby Union, received a letter from Mr. Mullineux in reply to one asSng for an explanation of the cable. In that letter it was stated that there was never any sug- | gestion of abandoning the Australian tour.