RE: 1986 Cavaliers Tour to SA
September 21, 2014, 16:02:24
As a young New Zealander,who was in his last year at boarding school in 1986, I clearly remember the tour to South Africa by the rebel Cavaliers.
I'd be the first to admit I didn't know much then about the political situation which took place in the republic during the Aparthied years in South Africa, we weren't taught that in our history classes at boarding school,but in saying that, we weren't taught about our own Maori or NZ history either at school,they weren't part of the history cirriculum,it was always English or American history. WHY? I will never know.
I listened to the test matches by way of live radio broadcast, which by today's standards of communication seems almost arcahic, but none the less,it was always awesome to listen to the radio feed of the tests.
I have since watched the series on DVD.
It wasn't easy listening either,especially during the third test when the Boks gave us a lesson in Running rugby and gave us a good old fashion thrashing.
But to be totally honest, we weren't good enough man for man across the paddock in the tests.
In hindsight ,and it easy for me to say now, we had a few to older players who were somewhat just past there best in rugby terms, and the younger guys who played for the dirt trackers who's stars were on the rise never got a look in for the tests, mainly because players like Haden and Mexted had to much input in test selections, when it should have been just left up to Meads Dalton and Kirkpatrick to select the test team.
Our back three Crowley, Clamp,Green, Only Green was world class at that time.
Crowley was overrated,as was Deans his replacement in either the second or third test,and Clamp well he couldn't tackle to save himself.
But don't take my word on it,watch the test matches and in particular Clamps piss poor defence, there's a try scored by Dr Uli Schmit in one test and Clamp flops over like a sack of spuds for sale on a supermarket shelf.
Our centre pairings Simpson and Taylor.
Simpson was a journeyman at best, good on the crash,ok in defence,but you need to set your wingers away with ball in hand in space and he never did it once in the test series, on the other hand Taylor was world class,tough,just as good on the crash and not shy to roll his sleeves up and get stuck in when it was required.
Grant Fox should have started in all the tests, his running and kicking was equal to that of Naas Botha,his kicking was far superior, watch the test that he played in and you will see for yourself,but the NZ selectors went for Wayne Smith in one of the tests thinking we could run the Boks off there feet, with Smith at first five, it didn't work Smith played poorly and we lost.
Loveridge and Donald were more than useful halfbacks, but thanks to Uli Schmits shoulder Loveridge got carried off the field in one of the tests and never played again.
In the forwards where we should have blooded some young bucks , but we went for the old heads and got thumped on the highveldt where we ran out of legs and lungs.
In the first test at Newlands the forward exchanges were pretty even, perhaps the Bok team gaining a slight advantage,but as they say the game ain't over till that final whistle blows,and when Naas kicked for Carel in the dying seconds not even superman could have got to the ball before Carel touched down to score the winning try.
NZ won the second test, Hobbs takes the captaincy,and starts at openside flanker again the Kiwis bettering the Bok forwards but only just, but in the third and fourth tests the Bok forwards were far superior.
They laid the platform for the Bok backs to cut the Tourists to ribbons in the remaining test,and when you are dominate upfront, as the Bok forwards were, we really did get to see World class backs like Wright, Ferreira,Heunis,Gerber,Reinach,Du Plessis x2,Botha run a muck.
They made it look easy.
Wayne Shelford ,AJ Whetton and Hobbs should have started in the third test as loose forwards,Haden G Whetton At locks, McDowell ,Hika Reid and Knight in the front row..with Cowboy Shaw and Frank Shelford Murray Pierce on the Bench.
Would it have mde a difference ? probably not.
You can only read history after it has taken place and for this series the Springboks were far superior.
The results speak for themselves.
One good thing to come out of the 86 Cavaliers tour ,was our players that played for the AB,s at the first Rugby World Cup in 87 were battle hardened for the tournament.
For two reasons ,we got our arses kicked by the Boks in 86 and by the French in Nantes in 86 as well.
Yes we became World Champs but I'm sure our brothers from South Africa would have had something to say about that, if only they were given the chance to do so.