Title:The Original All Blacks 1905-1906
Before 1905, rugby was perceived by some sections of New Zealand society in Kipling's terms as a ruffian's sport played by muddied oafs. Memories of the tragic death of a prominent player from injuries suffered in an Otago-Taranaki game were still vivid, as were those of a wild and rough period in the sport during the 1890s. After 1905 all that changed. Rugby became a national obsession across all sections of New Zealand society, which, although perhaps not quite as strong, continues to this day - one hundred years on since the All Blacks first toured Britain. This book considers briefly the foundations of the game in New Zealand and then seeks, with the help of the reminiscences on one of the 1905 All Blacks, Billy Wallace, to explore just why the Original All Blacks are still considered the most important, and greatest, New Zealand side in the history of the game. The book also reflects the bygone era of the rugby tourist before the sport was reinvented as a professional game; the days when major tours were adventures of a lifetime, entailing months at sea, and months of playing and touring. The days when tests and test series were so infrequent each one was extraordinarily intense and could be remembered for years afterwards; the days when players went to matches in drags pulled by horses and when vast crowds gathered at railway stations and outside hotels to catch a glimpse of the invaders from the other side of the world. These days are now gone forever but, perhaps, as time passes, this age, the age of the amateur, will come to be known as rugby's Golden Age...
Second hand Paperback