Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 16, No. 18. September 18, 1952
Success! — Anaesthetic for Birth Pains
Anaesthetic for Birth Pains
An inspired fourteen men last Saturday re-established New Zealand's tottering confidence in Rugby footballers Previous defeats were clouded into vague memory and future prospects received a much needed brightening. But on a more objective glance many doubts still remain undispelled.
The departure of the last of the Kiwi's from international Rugby has left New Zealand with the problem of rebuilding their team. A new era has begun. Reputations are yet to be made. The retention of the Bledisloe Cup while in this position was a flattering commentary on N.Z. Rugby. The birth pains have been somewhat deadened but all labour is not yet passed.
New Zealand's unquestionable forward strength was again shown but the display of its backs cannot be received without serious misgivings. One could hardly be completely satisfled with their performance. The small number of concerted attacks by the backline which meet with any modicrum of success illustrated that much needed doing before the British team could be faced with any degree of confidence.
Much will be written about the display of the N.Z. forwards. For seven men to defeat an international eight is a performance that will not be easily forgotten, The fire with which they played and the courage with which they maintained it left a deep impression. When the ball was on the ground their was only one team in it. There dribbling and rucking would have geen difficult to match. But for short passing movements they had to bow to Australia. This could partly be accounted for by the better understanding among the Australian forwards. The period of Australian superiority in the second spell was certainly aided by the handling of the Kangaroo eight. Indeed in my opinion they possessed one of the best loose forwards we have seen this season. Johansen's running through a New Zealand pack will not easily be erased from my memory—nor Windon's finishing burst. The two men it took to stop him helped make Hotop's try.
The problem man as far as New Zealand was concerned was Hotop. Undoubtedly the "playing fields of England" for him are not far off but—and its a big but—his play has serious limitations. He is basically an individualist—A dangerous person to have inside an All Black back line. He does not combine well with his outsides. Chain-passing movements do not interest him. His stopping to pass many a time made Brenner's Job very difficult. He worked well with Davis but he must remember his liaison-like position. A.
Bremner certainly looks like a N.Z. second-five. But a chasm separates him and J. B. Smith. Judgment could not be post on Elsom on Saturday's display. His defense was sound and what he lacked in penetration must be considered in relation to the functioning of the two five-eighths. Barker, the Australian less experienced Tate also showed gaps in his defence, second five Impressed with his ability to change direction without loosing speed.
Of the three-quarters we saw on Saturday, Stapleton was the most enterprising. The responsibllity laid on Jarden seemed to shake his confidence. The loss of Bell made his position no easier. No fault could be found in his defence in play ensuing from chain-passing movements. But Stapleton'a scorn for the orthodox demanded more than the usual attention.
Burden's play on Saturday added weight to the criticism of the selectors in playing a wing in such a highly specialised position as full back. It would have been hard to fault Bowden's performance.
The difference in tactics of the two teams was noticeable. Even early on in the game Australia when on defense would kick for the centre of the field. Compare this with the line kicking employed by the New Zealanders. The amount of ground gained by Bowden and Hotop with their touch finders must have caused the Australians to doubt the advisability of their tactics.
The tapping back versus rucking back in the lineouts was another contrast. The seeming success of the latter was accentuated by the absence of the Now Zealand flanker Robinson. But towards the end of the game N.Z. found an efficient counter. Cox's play during this period was marked by his great pluck.