RUGBY'S FINEST PLAYER
DEATH OF INVENTOR OF MOD-
DAZZLING CAREER OF THE LATE
The Rugby game has lost, in the death of Mr Arthur J. Gould, the Newport and Welsh International player, the greatest three-quarter back who ever donned a jersey. He was engaged in his usual work in his Newport office when he. called for help and a fellow clerk found him bleeding profusely, having apparently ruptured a blood vessel. After a t^me Gould was able to go home, where he shortly afterwards expired. Gould, who was G4, was the perfector and one of the inventors of the four three-quarter system, which transformed the code from one in which brute force and individual skill were the chief characteristics to one in which scientific combination —working with clock-like precision—became the main feature. Up to the eighties Rugby football was a game between forwards, an exhibition of Combined wrestling and hacking! The few backs playing were ttiere to help the forwards. The first great change came in the game with the Oxford teams of the early eighties, for the individual brilliance of the backs showed the value of open play. Thence onwards the tendencies were for forwards to play to their backs. The change in the game, which was thus vastly improved to the spectator was carried to its logical conclusion by an increase in the number of backs. The change came in Wales in the early nineties, when in the great town teams of Newport, Cardiff and Swansea four three-quarters were substituted for three, with the loss of one forward from the paok. Whichever side first made the change, it was the "Newport team, and Arthur Gould as its leader, which showed the great possibilities of the change. With it came the rise of Welsh football; the game spread until every mining village in Glamorgan and Moumouth had its team. Every boy learnt to play, and the result has been of immense value to the health of the nation. Gould first played for Newport at the early age of 16, and was awarded the first of no fewer than 27 Welsh International caps in 1885, when he figured as full back? for the Principality of Swansea. Had it not been for an unfortunate friction between .the Welsh Rugby Union and the International Board this record would have been greatly exceeded. The cause of the friction, it will be remembered, arose out of Gould's popularity. His admirers, who were to be found not only in Wales, but wherever the Rugby game was played, made him a presentation of a house at Newport, in which he lived until his death. The purists detected in this tribute to the great athlete the seeds >6f "professionalism," and took high-handed action, which prejudiced the fortunes of the game in 9,011 th Wales arid led to much unpleasantness;. Apart from his wbrk as Rugby ; pioneer, Gould was the most, accomplished player of his gen^ eration. /. "Style" was written large on every department Of his play. He v/as a wonderful runner in the first place—he was the holder of the Midland Counties Hurdle Championship —-and he had developed a■ swerve—r
A KIND OP SIDE-STEPPING PRO-
which was the despair of the oppos: ing players. One remembers his capacity tor starting at full speed, his swerving run, an attempt to collar him which left his opponent grasping the air. Many a time in the international matches, he went through a whole te&m without being touched by an opposing player, so deceptive were his pace and his disconcerting swerve. But Gould was more than a brilliant runner. He was the strategist par excellence of the game. None before or after him contrived to "draw off" the defence with such consummate mastery, none was so quick to detect the weak spot of the opposing side, and 'to exploit i^ with deadly persistency. His passes to the wing were timed to the fraction of a second, and were delivered knee- high, and sometimes With the velocity of a hurricane. His kicking, too, remained to the end one of the great features of his game. As a drop kick he developed an accuracy that wa3 almost uncanny, his extreme agility enabling him to kick in almost any position. He won innumerable matches by his drop-kicking alone. In the enemy's .25 he gave more anxiety to the defenders than the whole fifteen, for with Gould in possession', with the goalposts within hailing distance, it was instinctively felt that something was certain to happen. He remained 16 the end Of his playing days a prolific scorer notwithstanding the fact that he was always a "rnanked man." Gould was for years a national hero to the youth of the country, especially after the famous match at Cardiff between Wales and England in 3 892, when Wales won by a point. In this match Wales played four threequarters against England's three for the first time, and justified the change, in spite of the fact that England's line was made up by Stoddart, Alderson and I*ockwood. Thenceforward, the Welsh system was everywhere adopted. Of medium build, with dark crisp hair, a pair or spai'kling eyes, vivacious and debonnair, he was immensely poppular with players and spectators alike. To the latter he was known to the last jas "Monk" Gould in allusion to his agility on one well remembered occasion. The cross-bar of the goalpost fell during the progress of an exciting match, whereupon Gould j climbed one of the posts with the nimbleness of a monkey and placed |the offending bar in.position. Gould at one period resided in London and j played for both Richmond Club and Middlesex County. In addition to his | greatness on the Rugby field he was a capital batsman and a brilliant outfield. Two of his brothers, Bert and Gus, were also noted Rugby players, the first named partnering him in the centre in Newport's invincible year and also in more than one international match.,.Bert Gould made the supreme-sacrifice in the South African War.
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