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DAVID GALLAHER'S DEATH

A FAMOUS RUGBY CAPTAIN

(FROM Oim OWN CORRESPONDENT.)

LONDON, 13th November.

The death from wounds received in action of Sergeant David Gallaher, of the New Zealand Infantry, has called forth appreciations of the great Rugby captain throughout the British press.

The Morning Post, describes him as "the greatest figure in Rugby since Vassal's time at Oxford. The All Blacks," it continues, "found English Rugby had been overtaken by a period of slackness that hot even Wales could rouse it from, but Gallaher, with his ideas, developed in practice to a fine art, restored the flagging spirit of English Rugby, and stirred again the enthusiasm and. effort that have since prevailed in the sport of Rugby. He was a real artist 111 the novel position—wing forward —but in other hands the work was often clumsily performed and brought many penalties on those who attempted to copy the master."

The Sportsman' says :—"Gallaher was a very fine player in the position known in, New Zealand as the wing forward, though their idea of the wing forward is vastly different from the wing forward as illustrated by F. Evershed, in England. Gallaher had personality, and, well liked, he was chosen captain of the All Blacks. His methods were soon hotly discussed. He was regarded as an obstructionist, a player who got deliberately off-side, and who put the ball into- the scrum unfairly. He was really an extra ecrum half. However, he survived these attacks, and that ho was not nearly so bad as he was painted in some quarters was shown.by the fact that he satisfied Mr. Percy Coles, then secretary of the Rugby Union, and other referees. We never believed that Gallaher put the ball into the scrum unfairly, and Mr. Coles,-who officiated frequently, was in accord on this point. Wing forwards, however, were by no means appreciated in New Zealand, at any rate, by those who blew the whistle. They were a source of endless trouble, and it is on record that at a conference of New Zealand referees in 1901 a resolution was passed asking that they should be abolished, but this was not accepted by the governing body.

"Gallaher played many dashing games, and led his side from one success to another until they were deemed invincible. He was a veritable artist, who never deserved all the hard things said about him, especially in South Wales. A great player, a great judge of the game, who sat on the New Zealand Rugby Union Committee, David Gallaher will be deeply mourned by the sportsmen of Maoriland."

Mr. E. H. D. Sewell, in the Winning Post, writes :—"Gallaher will be regretted everywhere as a straight and good Rugger player. The outcry in 1905 was not against the man, but against the position of wins-forward, in which he played a very difficult part with remarkable ability and tact. The crusade in South Wales against him for not putting the ball in fairly was most unfair and unjustifiable, and had not a little to do with the general playing below form of a. stale New Zealand team in Wales on that tour. I will back my eyesight as equal to that of most folk, and I never saw Gallaher put the ball in the scrum unfairly. The Welsh accusation, many did not hesitate to say at ,the time, was part of an organised plan for the defeat of the Now Zealanders. Whether that is true or not I, at any rate, cannot say, but men who ought to know their business made no bones about;'saying it. It was calculated, whether intentionally or not does not much matter, to put any man off his game, and in this it succeeded. Gallaher was a very quiet, tiiciturn sort of cove, who spoke rarely about football or his own achievements. As a captain on the field he was about as noisy as 0. E. de Trafford, of Leicestershire, and as a man I never heard a soul who met him on that famous trip, say a disparaging word about him. Considering the much criticised position he played in this was possible, to say the last of it. Though over military age, he gave up a lucrative job in New Zealand to come over and fight, just as fourteen years earlier he had done when the call came from South Africa. He will long be remembered and mourned in the land of the silver fern."

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19180116.2.66

Bibliographic details

DAVID GALLAHER'S DEATH, Evening Post, Volume XCV, Issue 14, 16 January 1918

Word Count
741

DAVID GALLAHER'S DEATH Evening Post, Volume XCV, Issue 14, 16 January 1918

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