A SATISFACTORY FINISH. PATRIOTISM AND FOOTBALL. Very rarely indeed has the result of a Rugby match given such general satisfaction as was in evidence at the finish of the match between the team representing the Canterbury military districts quota of the Dominion's Expeditionary Force and the Canterbury Rugby Union's second fifteen. Patriotic fervour —stimulated by the .splendid bearing of the fine troops who marched to Lam-aster Park and were there drawn up on parade for a few minutes before they dispersed to watch the.match at their ease, as well as by the colours worn by the military footballers —made every spectator eager that the men from the Addington camp should win the game. Added to that was appreciation of the good Rugby played by the military fifteen. Little wonder, then, that every spectator acclaimed .with genuine zest the victory which tiie Expeditionaries achieved in, the last few minutes of the game. A Memorable Afternoon.
Although the crowd's sympathy was all with the men from the camp throughout the match, that did not stifle expressions of appreciation of good work by the Canterbury Rugby Union's team. The crowd's partiality towards the soldiers was not so expressed as to make the Canterbury "B" representatives feel that they were playing in an unsympathetic atmosphere. Both teams were out to do their best, they provided a really good game, and their efforts were appreciated. Indeed, the crowd had reason to be well satisfied with the afternoon's programme. It had a great opportunity for assessing the value of the splendid manhood that is going forth from the provinces of Canterbury and Westland to the most momentous war in the world's history, it saw a fast, clean, and good exposition of the Rugby game, and it was thrilled bv a great fighting finish. The only regret that could be felt was that the attendance was not much larger, for such an occasion deserved an attendance of many thousands. However, the match should yield, when all the receipts are totalled, a notable addition notable, that is, for Christchurcli, in which city the "gates" at football matches are less than those in the other large centres of the Dominion —to the Canterbury Patriotic Provident Fund. The Canterbury Rugby Union did well when, with the rea<%' assistance of the military .authorities, it arranged the match. It was a happy thought that prompted Mr C. Buchanan to suggest such a match to his fellow-members of the C.R.U. Managing Committee last Tuesday evening. Strong Fifteens.
From a strictly football point of view, the status of the match was second to that of an interproviucial fixture, and higher than the status of a "B" representative game. Officially, the Canterbury team was a "B" fifteen, as the first fifteen is on tour. But it contained H. M. Taylor, New Zealand representative, and three other men — E. C. Taylor, R. Kennedy, and C. E. Murray—who were selected as members of the touring representative team, but were unable to leave Christchurch. So the team was something more than a "B" one, and it certainly gave a much better display than the "B" teams which defeated the Huruuui and Peninsula Sub-Unions have given. And the military team contained a goodly percentage of men who have represented their respective unions—Canterbury, South Canterbury, and West Coast.
Both teams played well, providing a fast and open game, aud the better team won. Naturally, the military men lacked combination, as they had never played together before, and the hurry with which the match was arranged, and the exigencies of military training, had allowed them 110 opportunity for proper practice. So they had to depend to a very great extent upon individual effort and such combination as they could obtain during the game. But they had a strong fifteen, and if they had had opportunities for acquiring combination before the match the margin of points in their favour would have been much larger. They liad good forwards and fast and nippy backs, and every man gave of his best. In circumstances surrounding the match it would scarcely be fair to the team to pick out any members for special mention—not one of them was a laggard. Their play in the last quarter of an hour was particularly good. H. M. Taylor's Fine Play.
The Canterbury forwards were a very even lot. Of course, they had more combination than was possessed by their opponents, but they had not so much das'i and speed. In the backs the outstanding figure was that of 11. M. Taylor, who seems to have improved considerably in his Australian tour with the New Zealand team. If is play as a wing-thre-.i-quartei' in the first spell, and as a halfback in the second spell, was of a high standard. On the wing, he displayed the pace that he has few chances of showing from the half-back's position, and a fine swerve in running that stamps him as an excellent scoring three-quarter.
Next to H. M. Taylor, the best of the backs were M. O 'Malley and E. C. Taylor. O 'Malley, who belongs to tha "Marists' Club, has shown steady improvement of late. D. Sandman had to retire at half-time, as a blood-vessel in one of his hands had burst. Sandman now has both hands injured. Seabourne played soundly at full-bac-k. J. Bain's reappearance, to fill the gap caused by Sandman's retirement, indicated that tha Old Boys' full-back's fractured rib has mended well.
The Burden of Empire. 1 Canterbury's Rugby players are bearing their portion of the burden of Empire .well. As the club football season has finished, it is very difficult to arrive, with any degree of accuracy, at the number of Rugby players under the control of the C.R.U. who have joined the Expeditionary Force. Conservative estimates place the number at a little over 100, but it probably is greater than that. On the conservative estimates, about 40 per cent, of those of the C.R.U.'s players who are within the Expeditionary Force's age limits have been accepted for service. The Canterbury Rugby Union is rightly proud of the part its players are taking in the defence of the Empire. Mr F. T. Evans pursued a happy train of thought at the Canterbury Referees' Association's reunion on Saturday evening, when he pointed out that the training these men have had on the Rugby field, the lessons they have learned there of sympathetic combination with one another, of discipline and selfcontrol, of subordinating individual distinction to the needs and welfare of tlieir team, and of understanding that no game is lost until the last blast Of the whistle, and their physical fitness, make them eminently desirable members of the Expeditionary Force. Mr G. H. Mason, president of the" C.R.U., who — like several other speakers—eulogised the Rugby players who have volunteered for active service, referred to the old saying that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing-fields of Eton and Harrow, and pointed out that Rudyard Kipling's cheap sneer at the '' fianuelled fools and muddied oafs" had recoiled upon Kipling 's own head.
Referees and Patriots. The referees' reunion to which I have just alluded was remarkable for two thiugs. Held, as it was, on the evening of a day dominated, so far as Christchureli is concerned, by a nurture of patriotism and Rugby enthusiasm, and in a time in which the country is swept by a giant wave of all that is best in the Imperialistic spirit,- it was only to be expected that the needs of the times and the part that Rugby players are taking in upholding the honour and welfare of the Empire would strike a deep note in the function. But even in such circumstances the patriotic spirit which swayed the small gathering—between 30 and 40 persons were there—was greater than was expected of a Rugby function. Truer evidence of the fact that no one appreciates more keenly than the British sportsman what the Empire stands for could not have been found.
Less important at this juncture, but of material benefit to Canterbury Rugby, was the evidence, given at this reunion, of the happy relations between the C.R.U. and the Referees' Association. Of course, one always expects a certain amount of '' mutual admiration'' at these functions, and some of it rings falsely. But nothing rang falsely on Saturday evening regarding the relations between the two bodies most important to the Rugby game in Canterbury. The Canterbury Referees' Association recognises exactly where it should stand with regard to the government of the game in this district, and it stands there. So we are spared the pitiable spectacle, which has been furnished in Wellington this season, of a Referees' Association going out 011 strike because its unwarranted demand for a share in the control of club football larger than is its due, or than the laws of* the game allow, w T as not complied with.
Canterbury Tourists. Owing to the war and the consequent anxiety regarding supplies of paper, the northern newspapers have been reduced in size, and their sporting sections have been curtailed considerably. So very little comment 011 the Auckland-Canter-bury match is to be found in the Auckland papers. The "Star" says that the Canterbury fifteen ''was a long way below the usual standard of the representatives of that province, while the Auckland team performed very disappointingly. . . . The Auckland five-eighths were also decidedly weak, both in attack and defence, and an alteration will have to be made before Auckland can be confidently expected to regain the shield.'' 1 hope I. shall be pardoned for pointing out that before the match was played I remarked, in discussing Canterbury's chances of success, that the fiveeighths would probably be found to be the weakest portion of the Auckland rearguard.
The Taranaki Match. T must confess that the Canterbury team put up a better performance against Taranaki la:-t Thursday than I anticipated. Taranaki went very near indeed to losing the Kaufurly Shield. .It should, however, be remembered that Taranaki was unable to put its best team 011 tlio field. Indeed, the personnel of the Taranaki team was not definitely'known until the morning' of the match. Two or three days before, several of Taranaki r s best
representative players left to join the Expeditionary Force. The most notable of these were H. Dewar —a brilliant for- ; ward, who was a member of the New Zealand team which, visited California, and who would almost certainly havegone to Australia this season if he ha<l been available for selection, —G. Hawkins —one of the fine forwards who wreste.l the Ranfurly Shield from Auckland last season, —and Bertrand and H. Young,, a couple of three-quarters who have played in several representative matches this season. Taranaki did not have inlast Thursday's match the strong pack which had met Wellington earlier in the season. Most of the forwards were comparatively young and inexperienced, and the absence of such a clever and dashingforward as Dewar was felt particularly keenly. How badly off Taranaki was is evidenced by the fact that M. Cain and. it. Roberts, who had landed in Wellington, from Sydney at 9 o'clock on Wednesday night, were taken through to New Plymouth by motor car to fill a couple of the vacancies. They travelled all night, and, as it was, arrived in New Plymouth just 15 minutes before the match started. It was hoped that G. Loveridge would also be able to play, but he was ill. H. J. ("Bunny") Abbott, of the "All Black'' team of 1905-6, was brought out to fill one of the vacancies in the threequarter line, but he was much below his old foTm. - Detailed reports of the match show that Canterbury had the better of the first spell, which finished with the scores: Canterbury 5 (a try by Hegarty, converted by Crawshaw) to nil. In the second spell Taranaki had much the better of matters, but Canterbury, '' playing safety" most of the time, kept the shield-holders out until nearly the end of the match. Several times Taranaki just missed scoring, Canterbury managing to> force down, and until a few minutes before the final whistle Taranaki's only score was a penalty goal, kicked by Stohr. However, Taranaki made one of the desperate finishes for which it is noted, and C. Whittington, a wing-three-quarter who should not be confused with the forward of that surname, seored an unconverted try. The Canterbury team was composed as follows:—Full-back, Henry; three-quarters, McLeod, Boag, Guthrie; five-eighths, Crawshaw, Gray; ' half-back, Amodeo; forwards, Carnegie (wing), E. Cummings, Maxwell, W. Cummings, Fanning, Sime, Hasell, Hegarty. Amodeo is reported to have played very well, especially in defence. The match between Auckland and Taranaki. played in Auckland on Saturday and won by Auckland by 13 points to 8, was one of the '' home-and-home' * matches usually played between thps3 unions, and was not for the Ranfurly Shield. The Taranaki team left for Auckland a few hours after its matjb with Canterbury was finished. A. L. C.
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RUGBY NOTES., Sun, Volume I, Issue 170, 24 August 1914
RUGBY NOTES. Sun, Volume I, Issue 170, 24 August 1914
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