"The Invincibles"



  Devon v New Zealand

Ref: RA Roberts (Gloucester)

13 Sep 1924 Rectory Ground Devonport 0-11 NZ - Tries: Svenson, Cooke, Brown, Cons: Nepia Att:


  Cornwall  v New Zealand

Ref: FW Jeffery (Plymouth)

18 Sep 1924 Recreation Ground Camborne 0-29 NZ - Tries: Parker (3), Cooke, Brownlie, Irvine, Mill. Cons: Brown (2), Nepia (2) Att:


   Somerset v New Zealand

Ref: WH Jackson (Camborne)

20 Sep 1924 Recreation Ground, Weston-Super-Mare 0-6 NZ - Tries: Cooke, Mill Att: 


   Gloucestershire v New Zealand

Ref: R Fear (Somerset)

25 Sep 1924 Kingsholm, Gloucester 0-6 NZ - Tries: Donald (2) Att:


24-Swansea.jpg (44083 bytes) Swansea v New Zealand

(fold over card)

Ref: WJ Llewellyn (Bridgend)

27 Sept 1924 St Helen's, Swansea 3-39 NZ - Tries: Steel (3), Brown (2), M Brownlie, Lucas, Irvine, Cooke - Cons: Nicholls (4) - DG: Nicholls

Swansea - PG: Parker



    Newport v New Zealand

Ref: AE Freethy (Neath)

2 Oct 1924 Rodney Parade, Newport 10-13 Newport - Tries: Friend, Andrews. Cons: Wetter, Baker

NZ - Tries: Mill, Svenson - Cons: Nicholls (2) - PG: Nicholls



   Leicester v New Zealand

Ref: AE Freethy (Neath)

4 Oct 1924 Welford Road, Leicester 0-27 NZ - Tries: Cupples, Richardson, Steel, Lucas, White, Svenson - Cons: Nicholls (3) - PG: Nicholls Att:


   North Midlands v New Zealand

Ref: TH Vile (Newport)

8 Oct 1924 Villa Park, Birmingham 3-40 North Midlands - Try: Orcutt

NZ - Tries: Parker (5), Cooke (2), Donald, Brownlie, Stewart - Cons: Nepia (5)



   Cheshire v New Zealand

Ref: D Helliwell (Yorkshire)

11 Oct 1924 Upper Park, Birkenhead 5-18 Cheshire - Try: Locke - Con: Richardson

NZ - Tries: Hart (4), Porter, Steel



   Durham v New Zealand

Ref: J Brunton (Northumberland)

15 Oct 1924 Roker Park, Sunderland 7-43 Durham - DG: Alderson - GM: Alderson

NZ - Tries: Hart (3), Svenson (3), Lucas, Mill, West & Masters - Cons: White (3), Nepia (2) - PG: Nepia



   Yorkshire v New Zealand

Ref: JT Bradburn (Lancashire)

18 Oct 1924 Lidget Green, Bradford 4-42 Yorkshire - DG: Myers

NZ - Tries: Hart (4), McGregor (2), Richardson, Svenson - Cons: Nepia (6) - PG: Nepia (2)



   Lancashire v New Zealand

Ref: D Helliwell (Yorkshire)

22 Oct 1924 Old Trafford, Manchester 0-23 NZ - Tries: Cooke (2), Porter (2), Richardson, Svenson & Masters - Con: Nepia Att:


   Cumberland v New Zealand

Ref: RA Lloyd (Lancashire)

25 Oct 1924 Brunton Park, Carlisle 0-41 NZ - Tries: Hart (4), Cooke (2), Mill (2), Parker, Stewart & Nicholls - Cons: White (3) & Nepia Att:


   Ireland v New Zealand

Ref: AE Freethy (Wales)

1 Nov 1924 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 0-6 NZ - Try: Svenson - PG: Nicholls Att:


   Ulster v New Zealand

Ref: JH Miles (Leicester)

5 Nov 1924 Ravenhill, Belfast 6-28 Ulster - Try: H Stephenson - PG: Crawford

NZ - Tries: Svenson (2), Parker (2), Irvine, Steel - Cons: Nicholls (5)



   Northumberland v New Zealand

Ref: RO Jenkins

8 Nov 1924 County Ground, Gosforth 4-27 Northumberland - DG: Catcheside

NZ - Tries: Mill (2), Hart, Cooke, Brown, Richardson & Steel - Cons: Mill (3)



   Cambridge University v New Zealand

Ref: TH Vile (Newport)

12 Nov 1924 Grange Road, Cambridge 0-5 NZ - Try: Mill - Con: Nicholls Att:


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London Counties v New Zealand

Ref: RA Lloyd (Lancashire)

15 Nov 1924 Twickenham 6-31 London Counties - Tries: Millar (2)

NZ - Tries: Brownlie (2), Cooke (2), Parker (2), Richardson - Cons: Nicholls (5)



   Oxford University v New Zealand

Ref: AE Freethy (Neath)

20 Nov 1924 Iffley Road, Oxford 15-33 Oxford University - Tries: Jacob, MacPherson, Wallace - Cons: Berkeley (3)

NZ - Tries: White, Cooke, M Brownlie, Steel, Robilliard - Cons: Nicholls (5) - DG: Nicholls (2)



   Cardiff v New Zealand

Ref: Capt AS Burge (Penarth)

22 Nov 1924 Cardiff Arms Park 8-16 Cardiff - Try: Delahay - Con: Wallace - PG: Wallace

NZ - Tries: Lucas, White, Porter - Cons: Nicholls (2) - PG: Nicholls



wnz-24.jpg (43571 bytes) Wales v New Zealand

Ref: Col JS Brunton (England)

(16 page programme)

29 Nov 1924 St Helen's, Swansea 0-19 NZ - Tries: Irvine (2), M Brownlie, Svenson - Cons: Nicholls (2) - PG: Nicholls Att:


  Llanelly v New Zealand

Ref: WJ Llewellyn (Bridgend)

2 Dec 1924 Stradey Park, Llanelly 3-8 Llanelli - Try: Finch

NZ - Tries: Hart & Svenson - Con: Nepia



00t.jpg (39572 bytes) East Midlands v New Zealand

Ref: AE Freethy (Neath)

6 Dec 1924 County Cricket Ground, Northampton 7-31 East Midlands - Try: Jones - DG: Jones

NZ - Tries: Steel (3), Brownlie (2), Brown & Cooke - Cons: Nepia (5)



   Warwickshire v New Zealand

Ref: T Bradburn (Lancashire)

11 Dec 1924 Highfield Road, Conventry 0-20 NZ - Tries: Steel (3), Paewai, Hart, McGregor - Con: Nepia Att:


00s.jpg (56195 bytes) Combined Services v New Zealand

Ref: FC Potter-Irwin (London)

13 Dec 1924 Twickenham 3-25 Combined Services - PG: Forrest

NZ - Tries: Lucas (3), Steel (2), Masters, Richardson - Cons: Nepia & White



   Hampshire v New Zealand

Ref: HEB Wilkins (Kent)

17 Dec 1924 Fratton Park, Portsmouth 0-22 NZ - Tries: McGregor (2), Donald, Cooke, Svenson - Cons: Nepia, White - PG: Nepia Att:


   London Counties v New Zealand

Ref: TJ Bradburn (Lancashire)

27 Dec 1924 Rectory Field, Blackheath 3-28 London Counties - Try: Gibbs

NZ - Tries: C Brownlie (3), M Brownlie, Donald, Irvine, Parker, Richardson - Cons: Nicholls (2)



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England v New Zealand

Famous Brownlie sending off match

Ref: AE Freethy (WRU)

3 Jan 1925 Twickenham 11-17 England - Tries: Cove-Smith, Kittermaster - Con: Conway - PG: Corbett

NZ - Tries: Svenson, Steel, M Brownlie, Parker - Con: Nicholls - PG: Nicholls



  French Selection  v New Zealand 11 Jan 1925 Paris 8-37    
  France v New Zealand 18 Jan 1925 Toulouse 6-30    
24-Van.jpg (42842 bytes) Vancouver v New Zealand 14 Feb 1925 Vancouver 0-49    
  Victoria v New Zealand 18 Feb 1925 Victoria 4-68    



41.jpg (176708 bytes) Information relating to the travelling All Black squad can be seen below. the information is taken from the pre-tour publication 'Special Souvenir - All Blacks for England' edited by the NZ journalist, RA Barr. The booklet is printed by the Dawson printing Co, Upper Queen St, Auckland.

To purchase this and other books relating to this tour please..... CLICK HERE

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GEORGE NEPIA (Hawke's Bay) - A splendid type of the Maori footballer, who has represented his province with honour. He is one of the young players of the All Black team, being 19 years of age, and weighs 13 stone. Nepia is distinctly a five-eighths but on the dropping out of dr J Sinclair of Otago University, Otago, New Zealand and New Zealand Universities, who was the certainty for the full back position in the New Zealand team, but who was not available for the tour, consequent on his appointment to the Hawera Hospital, Nepia was selected, in the series of All Black trials as full back. He filled the position perfectly coming through the ordeal with honours, to be selected again for the North Island v South Island, and the final 'Probables v Possibles' match at Wellington, to be crowned with further honours as the full-back for the New Zealand team for England

Nepia is the only full back selected, all the other positions, with the exception of the half back, being covered by reserves. The young native is a great anticipator, a deadly tackler, a powerful kick, and a good goal kicker and a pot shot artist. Playing mainly at five-eighths, he has naturally all the instincts for that position, with the effect that in his full back game he is inclined to come into the five eighths and three-quarter line in an attacking movement, to the danger if the last line of defence. Save for this Nepia is a fine full-back, having all or nearly all, the qualifications for this important position. In the event of Nepia being transferred to his real position of five eighths, or through injury or any unforseen circumstances, his place at full-back by Mark Nicholls of Wellington, who has been selected as one of the five-eighths in the New Zealand team. Nepia has played for the New Zealand Maori team in Australia and New Zealand. He is certain to be popular on the tour, as he is distinctly unorthodox in his methods. 



F. W.  LUCAS (Auckland)- A brilliant wing-three-quarter, who is destined to be one of the star backs of the team. A distinctly versatile player, Lucas excels in any position in the three-quarter line and, if he were not such a spectacular wing, would make a brilliant centre or five-eighths. A young player, Lucas is well endowed physically and mentally for the modern rugby game, being fast, elusive and clever, with a sudden stop, side-step and swerve which is at all times disconcerting to his opponent and dangerous withal. He fields faultlessly from the fastest passing movement; is into his stride before taking the ball, races like a greyhound, passes perfectly and always with a fine regard for position, never transfering, or reverse-passing if the player in support of the movement is not in a good position to field the ball. If there is a fault - if fault it is - is it his extreme unselfishness. Regardless of self, Lucas, too frequently, when in a good scoring position, reverse-passes to his confrere to score the try. Lucas is a perfect player who will be immensely popular for his style and system, not to mention his delightful swerve and side-step. Moreover, Lucas is modesty personified.



J. STEEL (West Coast) - A daring and dashing wing three-quarter when on the top of his game, a player who, in form, should score more tries than any other back in the team. A noted sprinter on the track, he is endowed with super pace and dashes with all his weight and strength straight for the goal line. Steel first won New Zealand honours against the "Springboks" in the three test matches played in 1920. He has represented New Zealand 1920, 1921, 1923 and 1924.


A. H. HART (Taranaki) - A young player who has come rapidly to the front in the past two seasons to eventually win All Black honours. Hart was a "discovery" in Taranaki two seasons ago, since when he has represented that province in "big" football. He is a bright, dashing wing who is off the mark like a hare, takes his passes perfectly, but, strangely, gives them indifferently. His transfer, when in his stride, is sometimes fatal, as he stops and turns to send out a lob pass which falls short or goes astray. Save for his Hart is a good wing three-quarter.


V. A. W. Brown (Taranaki) - Another of the young players of the team, who has come to light in recent seasons. An ex-New Plymouth High School boy, he is still in his teens, being only 19 years of age. A bright, though not yet brilliant, back, Brown will develop into a fine centre three-quarter on the tour. He captained the New Plymouth High School team in the Moascar Cup matches last season and represented Taranaki for three seasons, showing fine form.


K. S. SVENSON (Wellington) - An ex-Wanganui College centre three-quarter, of promise and possibilities, but, as yet, a trifle slow with the speedy five-eighths, Cooke, who had frequently to cut him out of the passing rushes in the All Black trials and the Inter-island match. Svenson is not new to "big" football, having represented South Island in 1921, and North Island in 1922-23-24. He has also represented Wellington province.


A. C. C ROBILLIARD (Canterbury) - A "discovery" this season in Canterbury, for which province he played last year. He received his initial training at the Ashburton High School, and later, joining the Christchurch Club, played for that team last season when he was selected as a Canterbury representative. A strong, dashing wing three-quarter, Robilliard should develop into a good scoring back on the British Tour.



A. E. COOKE (Auckland) - The most brilliant back in the All Black team. As swift as a hare; as elusive as a shadow; strikes like lightning and flashes with brilliancy, Cooke is the shining star of the side. He is meteorie in methods; penetrates like a bayonet-point, and thrusts like steel. Cooke is Eclipse! A young player who has had a flashing career, jumping from junior to senior, to representative honours in a season, to eventually attain his highest ambition - All Black honours.


MARK NICHOLLS (Wellington) - One of the few "veterans" - if the term may be used - in the team; a consistently good five-eighths who knows the game thoroughly and never gets out of position. Unlike the "will o' the wisp", Cooke, Nicholls is a player of the solid, certain class, who is sound alike on attack and defence; has represented Wellington, North Island and New Zealand for several seasons. Playing for Auckland last season, Nicholls developed a modern game.


N. P. McGREGOR (Canterbury) - Another of the Canterbury's "discoveries", who is probably fortunate in having All Black honours thrust upon him. A promising young player who will develop his game on the tour, and should turn out a fine five-eighths, though not with the brilliancy of Cooke, of Auckland, or his confrere, Ces. Badeley, of the same province.


CES. BADELEY (Captain of the Team***) (Auckland) - A delightful player to watch, who should prove one of the star attractions on the British tour. Scarcely as fast as Cooke, he is also somewhat dissimilar in style, running straight through the defence for the most part, with a sudden swerve to link up with the three-quarter line which he swerves swiftly with plenty of ball in the attacking positions. He is not actually solid on defence, as defence goes, but is not afraid to tackle his man and is adept at picking up the ball off the feet of the opposing forwards, turning defence into attack


L. PAEWAI (Hawke's Bay) - Another clever "inside" back, who has won fame in the Hawke's Bay representative team and the New Zealand Maori team in Australia. Paewai is a young player of promise and bright possibilities. He is a specially serviceable five-eighths; fast, elusive and resourceful like the other All Black backs, he should be another of the star players of the team. Unorthodox in his methods he is difficult to anticipate and quick off the mark, he races into position to set the three-quarter line in action. Paewai, unfortunately, sustained an injury when playing for North Island against South Island, at Wellington, and was forced to retire. His injury, however, was not serious, and he is well-fitted for the tour. He has played for Hawke's Bay in "big" football for the past two seasons, and for the New Zealand Maori team. Playing behind his club-mate, J. Mill, the half-back, Paewai shows to great advantage. He was a perfect pair of hands and is quick off the mark; his meteorie dart will delight English enthusiasts to a degree.


***Badley's captaincy was transferred to Porter prior to the team sailing, it is thought that this was because of a recurring knee injury




J. MILL ("Jimmy) Mill was regarded as a "certainty" for one of the half-back positions, before even the All Black tests were played, as he had shown brilliant form behind the magnificent Hawke's Bay forwards and the Maori pack in Australia and New Zealand. A clever half-back, Mill is essentially an attacking half, who secures the ball cleverly from the base of the scrum and swerves his way through a defence to send out to his five-eighths. He is, however, not so effective on defence having had little experience in the defensive game owning to his good fortune in having played behind big forwards and winning teams. Mill, too, like Paewai and Nepia, the other Maori boys, who will be a delight to the spectators at Wembley Park, Twickenham and every playing field in Great Britain where the All Blacks of 1924 will fight for rugby supremecy.


W. C. DALLEY (Canterbury), is the real "discovery" of the party, having only come into prominence the past two seasons in Christchurch, where he played for the Boys' High School, with honours, and, later, for Christchurch Old Boys. He represented Canterbury in 1923 and was the reserve half-back for South Island in the last inter-island match, getting a chance to show form when Steel, the West Coast wing three-quarters retired through injury. A bright player, he should develop on the tour into a brilliant half.



C. G PORTER - The wing forwards, or rovers, as they will be designated and played on the tour are C. G. Porter (Wellington) and J. H. Parker (Canterbury). 

Porter is a distinctly fine player, a great anticipator and a fast follower in every attacking movement. He is quick to get on to the opposing backs, whom he tackles like a tiger and with equal tenacity, but it is anticipation, resource, activity and certainty in action which makes him the fine player he undoubtedly is.

Porter has one fault that will get him into trouble and his side into extreme danger if he does not cure himself of it before he sets foot on any playing ground in England. This fault is his attitude in standing off-side on the fringe of a serum, waiting for the ball to come out, ready on the instant to pounce on to the unfortunate opposing half, who, probably unconscious of his danger, is helpless to defend. Playing for North Island against South Island in the inter-island contest at Wellington, which was the most important of the series of important All Black trials, Porter persisted in his attitude, standing distinctly off-side, waiting his opportunity to smother the opposing half, (St George, Otago), who was repeatedly crushed out of action. The referee, for reasons only known to himself, refused to recognise the position, and persisting in his attitude, nothwithstanding protests from players and spectators alike, allowed the game to go on despite the extreme unseemly and unsporting tactics adopted by the wing forward. Porter will have to remedy this most serious of all offences on the Rugby field if he is to be of any service to his side or credit to his team. English referees will not stand for this, neither will the majority of New Zealand referees, but the referee of the Inter-island match was a law unto himself. 

The late Dave Gallaher, captain of the famous All Blacks of 1905, was severely criticised and condemned for his system of wing-forward play by the English critics and referees, but Gallaher's methods were not a circumstance to that adopted by Porter of Wellington, who should be played in such a position that his proclivities for off-side play and his unsporting position and attitude should be made absolutely impossible. It is not the individual but the principle that is so seriously involved. Porter is too fine a player to have the resort to and adopt such tactics. Let him learn the lessons on Tom Ellison, the originator of the wing forward in New Zealand, and its finest exponent, while yet there is time. This criticism, severe as it may appear is created in the best interests of the player concerned and the New Zealand team generally, which foreign to anything not sporting, is certain to establish a splendid reputation on the British Isles tour.


J. H. PARKER (Canterbury), is a typical rover or wing forward-call him what we will. He is nothing if not sporting in his tactics and attitude, and he has a keen regard for requirements; quick to seize an opening to get on to the opposing backs whom he tackles tenaciously and with a marked degree of certainty. Parker first played for Christchurch Boy's High School, and, later, in the season of 1915 and 1916, was a member of Christchurch Old Boys, representing Canterbury in 1920, both as forward and as a back. He was selected for the third test last season, but was unavailable. Parker will create a distinctly favourable impression on British Rugby fields for his sporting tactics, and his keen desire to do the right thing.



J. RICHARDSON - ("Jock") (Otago and Southland) - The finest all-round forward in the team, who should captain the All Blacks in England, if qualifications as a leader are considered in the appointment. Richardson ranks with Seeling, of the famous All Blacks, of 1905, and the late Tom Ellison, of the New Zealand Native Team, which toured Great Britain in 1888-89, as one of the greatest forwards New Zealand has ever seen. Tall, raking and rugged, with strength and indomnitable courage and a real regard for the finest phases of modern play, Richardson is in a class by himself. A great break-away forward, who works like a Trojan; excels on line-out and in the loose; dribbles with the dash and flaire of an Irish international, and with a perfect and complete control of the ball, with his fast following up and deadly tackling, is a great forward in every respect. Richardson has played for Otago, Southland, South Island and New Zealand in test matches-always with honour to his side. Of a genial disposition and modest withal, Richardson is a favourite on and off the field. Watch Richardson!


MAURICE BROWNLIE (Hawke's Bay) - Another great forward in the New Zealand team, who is second to Richardson as a break-away. Strong as a lion, and daring as a Daniel, Brownlie is one of the best forwards in New Zealand at the present time, when the Dominion is well served with great forwards. Brownlie excels in the tight play-the tighter the better for this player, who throws all his weight and strength into the scrum to dash through and break away with the ball in possession. Naturally a hard man to tackle, and a difficult man to hold, Brownlie is always dangerous. A tendency to stand off-side is his particular weakness, and a weakness, forsooth, which will land him in trouble and his side in positive danger unless he remedies his actions before turning out on the Rugby fields in Great Britain. Too good and too fine a forward to resort to any tactics that are not "sporting" Brownlie should be one of the successes on the British tour. He has represented Hawke's Bay, North Island and New Zealand in "big" football for the past three seasons, and is now at the top of his form.


CYRIL BROWNLIE (Hawke's Bay), brother of Maurice, of that ilk, Cyril is a past master on the line-out and in the loose. The tallest forward in the team, he excels on the line and is clever in the loose. Cyril has not the ruggedness of his brother, but he has the most of the qualifications which make a New Zealand forward of the best type. He, also, has represented Hawke's Bay, North Island and New Zealand.


L. F. CUPPLES (Bay of Plenty) - Another of New Zealand's fine forwards who was first "discovered" in the North Island team in a memorable match against South Island, played on Eden Park, Auckland, in 1922, when the Brownlies, Jock Richardson and Cupples were giants in the contest, rising superior to the heavy and treacherous conditions on a mud-field, playing fine football in a great and gruelling game. Cupples has represented Bay of Plenty, North Island and New Zealand. He was a great forward in the New Zealand team in the third test match last season,


A. WHITE (Southland) - The best forward in the team, in the loose; the most perfect player in control of the ball; follows up fast and is a demon on defence and attack. White first came into prominence and Invercargill after returning from service in the Great War. He has represented Southland since 1919, South Island and New Zealand in 1921 and 1924. A fine forward in every respect. 


R. F. STEWART (South Canterbury) - Another All Black forward of exceptional abilities and qualifications; plays solidly in the tight, and is excellent in the loose;  follows up fast and tackles like a tiger. Stewart played for the Timaru High School in his early career and later with Timaru Old Boys to represent South Canterbury and Canterbury in 1921-22-23, South Island in 1922-23-24, New Zealand in the third test last year and the All Blacks of 1924.


A. H. WEST (Taranaki) - The veteran of the All Blacks, who was a great forward in his time which was during the visit of the South Africans in 1921 when West stood out in the test matches against the best of the "Springboks". West played for the New Zealand army team in England, Taranaki in 1919-20-21-22 and New Zealand since 1920. He has past his prime, but is still a fine forward.


BRIAN McCLEARY (Canterbury) - A first-class front ranker, who knows and plays the position well; "hooks" the ball cleverly, and is a deadly defensive player. A son of the great Jim McCleary, of Wellington and Otago, who was one of New Zealand's great forwards, of seasons ago, Brian McCleary, has football blood in his veins. First played for Alhambra in Dunedin, a team which his father ably captained before him;  has represented Canterbury 1920-21-22-23 and South Island 1923. McCleary was the heavy-weight boxing champion of New Zealand.


H. G. MUNRO (Otago) - The finest ranker in the team, and the only Otago representative, consequent on six of the leading players being unavailable for the tour. Munro has played for Otago and Otago University since the war and has always won his place by the excellence and certainty of his "hooking". Played for South Island against North, at Wellington, in the inter-island test, beating his opponents for the ball four times out of five. A good all-round forward, Munro has won his place in the All Blacks by superior "hooking"


QUINTON DONALD (Wairarapa) - Played for Victoria College, Wellington, in 1915-16-27, and later represented Wairarapa since 1918; represented North Island in 1919-24 and was a representative for New Zealand test matches last seasons. Donald is of the rugged, raking type, stockily built and endowed with strength and dash; follows up fast; tackles tenaciously and is always on the ball.


W. R. IRVINE (Hawke's Bay) - A front ranker who has represented Wellington and Hawke's Bay and also Wairarapa. He is the son of a notable old-time Wellington forward of a decade ago, and a brother of "Sal" Irvine who toured Australia with the New Zealand team in 1914, just prior to the outbreak of the Great War. Irvine played for New Zealand in the test matches last season and represented North Island against South Island at Wellington this year, to win a place in the All Black team for England.


R. R. MASTERS (Canterbury) - A fine forward of the raking, rugged type, who plays hard throughout the most strenuous game; is always on the ball, following up fast, and a tenacious tackler. Masters is a comparatively youthful player, being only 23 years of age, but has had a lot of experience in Canterbury which province he has represented with honours. He stands 5 feet 11 inches, weighs 14 stone and, in rowing parlance, "pulls his weight"



A post tour analysis which appeared in the book "50 years of the All Blacks, compliled by Wilf Wooller and David Owen (JBG Thomas) as seen through the eyes of Leonard LJ' Corbett, the English international who played in the famous ‘Brownlee’ sending off match at Twickenham.

"When the 1924 All Blacks, following a short and successful preliminary tour in New South Wales, arrived in this country in August, they, like their predecessors in 1905, made their headquarters at Newton Abbot, Devon, and lost no time in getting down to a systematic course of training. Twenty-nine strong, the party was made up of one full-back, 6 threequarters, 5 five eighths, 2 half-backs, 2 wing forwards and 13 forwards. The average age of the players was 24 years and the average weight 12 stone 3 lb. Youth predominated amongst the backs whilst in the pack two players, A. H West (Taranaki) and A. J. White (Southland), were in their thirty-first year. 

The fact that no fewer than seven of the fifteen forwards topped the six-foot mark presaged strength in the line-out, and with eight of them weighing over 14 stone it was clear that weight was also going to play its part in the strenuous tour that lay ahead. Advance reports from New Zealand were unanimous that the material was there for the making of a great All Black side and how right those reports were may be judged from the fact that the team won all of their 28 matches, including three internationals, most of them by substantial margins. Altogether they scored 654 points against 89 by their opponents. Those, then, are the bare statistical facts, or some of them, which are as impressive in retrospect as they were when the 1924 All Blacks were carrying all before them in their victorious tour. 

What was the secret of their success? The short answer to this question is undoubtedly team work of the highest order allied to a high standard of physical fitness, determination, speed and intensive backing up. A feature of the tour was the piling up of points in the closing stages of many of their engagements. The forwards were tall and heavy, yet their size seemed in no way to impair their mobility. Close hand-to-hand passing amongst members of the pack was a form of attack to which most of their opponents had no effective answer. Always there was one or more colleagues within a yard or so of the tackled or half-tackled All Black when they were launching an attack. Even in the act of falling they contrived to pass, and pass accurately, so that the movement was carried on. 

It was this intensively developed aspect of forward play more than any other which earned for the 1924 All Blacks pack the reputation of one of the finest ever seen in this country. Revelling in this form of attack one usually saw the brothers Brownlie with the vice-captain J. Richardson, supported by Q. Donald and W. R. Irvine, always at hand. These forwards could handle the ball like threequarters; unlike many of their British opponents even some of the best of them-they knew exactly what to do with the ball when they found themselves in possession. This formidable All Black pack also scrummaged hard and usually had the best of the argument in the line-out, whilst the defensive covering of the back row was intelligent and thorough. What of the backs? Pride of place must go to the rock-like George Nepia, the full-back, who played in all the 28 games, fielded, kicked and tackled with tremendous skill and zest, and never let the side down. A great full-back, this, who will be remembered for many years to come for his outstanding displays throughout the tour. I frequently hear comparisons made between Nepia and R. W. H. Scott, the All Blacks full-back of the 1953-4 tour, and fine player though Nepia undoubtedly was, I consider Scott an even better full-back. Whilst Nepia was the better tackler, Scott's amazing accuracy, positional sense and versatility earns him a place amongst the really great players of our time. Of the 1924-5 All Black three quarters, K. S. Svenson and J. Steel were determined, strong running wings; both were difficult men to stop and Steel, especially, used his 12 ½ stone effectively when within striking distance of the line. Other prominent three quarters and five-eighths were F. W. Lucas, A. Hart, H. W. Brown, one of the youngest members of the team, A. E. Cooke and M. F. Nicholls. Hart had the distinction of scoring the greatest number of tries during the tour and Nicholls, mainly as a result of his accurate goal kicking, topped the 100 mark as the Tourists most prolific scorer of points. W. C. Dalley and J. Mill were the officially designated half-hacks of the side with C. G. Porter, the captain, sharing with' J. H. Parker the duties of 'wing forward' whose duties corresponded with those of our scrum-half. Injury and loss of form kept Porter out of the side on a number of occasions ( he played in only 16 of the 28 matches) but his great experience and generalship was a major factor in some of the side's most impressive victories. 

As a scoring machine the All Blacks back division, once they had settled down, were a thoroughly efficient combination. Short, quick passing in close formation and straight running was the successful formula. Individually they were no faster or more resourceful than many of our half-backs and threequarters with whom they were matched, but the additional thrust and determination, allied to the complete understanding which they quickly developed and maintained, made them a formidable striking force which, given a fair share of the ball, could be relied upon to score tries. Their defence was sound, and if a gap was found by an opposing player, the reliable Nepia was always there as the last line of defence.

I have often heard the relative merits of this 1924 All Black side and their predecessors of 1905 debated, sometimes with heat, and for the very good reason that I was not old enough to see the 1905 team I am not qualified to enter into this controversy, It seems to me, however, that in attempting to make such a comparison due allowance should be made for the fact that the 1924 side visited these Islands at a time which was something of a vintage period for English rugby football; such players as H. J. Kittermaster, H. M. Locke, R. Hamilton-Wickes, and A. T. Young were then in their prime behind the scrum, and in one of the strongest packs ever fielded by England the names of W. W. Wakefield, G. S. Conway, R. Edwards, A. T. Voyce, J. S. Tucker and R, Cove-Smith will bring back vivid memories to rugby followers of my generation. Yet the 1924 All Blacks had little difficulty in defeating all the English county and club sides, most of them by a comfortable margin, and finished gloriously with a 17-11 victory over England at Twickenham early in January. But then, I suppose, the 1905 protagonists will counter the point I have made by reminding me of the strength of Wales at that time, and will argue from this that the standard of opposition which the 1905 AU Blacks came up against was at least as high as in the later tour, Let us, then, leave it to the septuagenarians to carry on the argument; for my part I am content to accept the outstandingly successful results of the games played by both the 1905 and 1924-5 All Blacks as evidence of their great strength and all-round ability.





Dai Richards & Laurie Richards (World Rugby Museum), Lindsay Ward, Vancouver, Canada, 



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