Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 10. 1971
A recent visitor to the sporting scene on campus was Australian Test Rugby lock. Tony Abraham, who holds both a B.A. and an LL.B. Abraham was a Wallaby from '67 to '69, but since then injury and a commitment to his anti-racist opinions have kept him out of serious rugby.
Of the 30 man Australian team which travelled to South Africa in 1969, six have since returned and voiced strong anti-apartheid convictions. Tony is one of the five Wallaby reps out of that six, who have been particularly active in speaking out against the policies of South Africa, specifically as they extend into the realm of sport. (He suspects that more of his team-mates sympathise with his opinions but do not wish to make them public.) What he witnessed at first-hand in South Africa must have made a big impression on him, for he pays for much of his crusading himself. He was interviewed by Peter Winter:
Ques—What is the general public attitude in Australia to movements such as Hart, Care, and so on; in fact, towards the whole an anti-apartheid movement?
Abraham—"The general public feeling is difficult to gauge of course, but in New South Wales, for example, two of the major morning papers are on our side. The majority of Australian students are against any sporting contact with South Africa, and the policy of ASA is to oppose any such contact."
Ques—How do you deal with the much-heard argument that before you look at South Africa and the situation existing there, you should look at your own country, and its treatment of the Aborigine as we should look at our treatment of the Maori, and so on?
Abraham—"I see the anti-tour activities and so on as a possible springboard for raising the issues in Australia. We now have Aborigine representation on the anti-tour committees throughout the country tor example. Besides, though our |Australian| treatment of the Aborigine is often compromising, surely our compromising with South Africa is of a far more serious nature?... it emphasises or reinforces our home policy if you like."
Ques—Why not oppose Russia, or any other country, for its offenses against human liberties? Why pick on South Africa, and give it all your attention?
Abraham—"Well, firstly, there isn't any other country in the world which makes its political situation so blatantly manifest in sport. Also, sport can be used as a means of breaking down socio-political barriers between countries, the recent case of the American ping-pong team playing in Red China being a classic example. And 400 million people saw on T.V. the scenes at the end of the last Olympic Games, where athletes danced in the centre of the arena, forgetting Such differences as skin-colouring. Yet 50 years of sporting contact with South Africa by both Australia and New Zealand has seen no breaking down of barriers. It was only the refusal of the N.Z.R.F.U. to compromise with South Africa's racist sporting policies in 1967 that led to Poly-nesians being invited in the 1970 team. (Yet as an Afrikaans newspaper has said, they were only 'tea-coloured!)"*
Ques—What do you think of the recent move by the South African Government to allow your Aborigine tennis star, Marie Woollongong, to play in South Africa, and her acceptance of their invitation?
Abraham—"I view it as a terrible compromise. I also suspect that she was only granted an entry visa because of the proposed cricket and rugby tours of Australia by South Africa later this year. Sport is fast becoming the only link you see..."
The Wellington Provincial Handicap Tournament was held in Bulls (of all places) over Anzac weekend. This tournament is especially interesting as senior fencers are heavily handicapped with points against them before they start, to give junior fencers a chance to win. Vic Swords Club entered a large number of entrants, as usual and as usual club members figured in the placings.
Five out of the six finalists in the women's division were from Victoria, and although that damned first place eluded us, Stephanie Grant-Taylor gained second place only after a lond and bitter struggle with the eventual winner. Sue Norris, Viv McLean, Sue Grant-Taylor and Jennifer Stacey took the other placings. The men's event was tougher. The guy that eventually won the event had just re-turned from representing New Zealand at the Pan-Oceanic Games in Australia. Martin McCaffery fenced well to take third place in the final and Dave Grant-Taylor was unlucky to be put out in the semi-final. Especially pleasing was the performance of junior fencers, most fencing in their first tournament: all of them won some bouts and show great potential as typical aggressive Victoria fencers. Everybody enjoyed the bunfight and binge put on by the hosts, Ohakea Fencing Club, after the fencing, although some of our members did not seem to enjoy Sunday morning! Thanks to Ohakea for a great tournament.
The next event on the competition calendar is the North Island Championships to be held in Waitara over Queen's Birthday weekend. Victoria will be fielding a large number of entries and we hope to take home some of the prizes, especially the junior men's (visual) events.
The VUW Underwater Club's seventh trip to the warm clear waters of North-land was considered to be New Zealand's first underwater photography convention. With well-known underwater photographers from all over NZ, the trip proved to be a stimulating interchange of ideas of both diving and photographic skills. The weather, while" not as kind as in previous years, still allowed three trips out to the Poor Knights Islands, and one coastal dive. Cancelled diving days provided time for a trip up to Paihia to see Kelly Tarlton's museum of shipwrecks and to continue the synthesis of knowledge.
The diving was in many respects the best yet, with rare animal species being noted, moray eels encouraged to fight in front of the camera lens, and fish being enticed closer with broken sea urchins, at times being fed from the hand. Accommodation was 400% better than the previously utilised Hotel Cabins. The "flat" at Matapoun Bay slept 13 people in luxurious comfort, at a minimal weekly charge.
The trip was judged such a success that many divers have indicated their interest in our next trip in November (13th to 21st). We will book two flats (accommodation 20 or 22) and two boats if necessary. Any inquires to Kel Nairn or John McKoy, phone 838-284 day.
The Varsity Harrier Club recently held its Novice and Veterans Cup Race over Seatoun Heights. The race, some 2— miles in distance, is the first club race of the season and provides an indication of how good performances are going to be later in the season.
The Novice Cup which is competed for by runners who have not won a major race since leaving High School, was won by Eric Cairns in a time of 13min 20 sec. This broke the Novice record set by Ian Hunt in 1969 (13min 46sec) and also the Open Record of 13min 35sec set by lan Stockwell in 1970. Second home in 13 min 36sec was Bruce Batten who represented Vic at Easter Tournament in the 800 and 1500 metres. Third was Peter Konig in 13min 47.5sec followed by Bryan Dawkins with a time of 14mms 4secs.
The Veterans Race was won by George Seconi in 13mins 39sec, second in 13min 57sec was Ian Hunt and third was lan Stockwell. The first Junior home in this race was Bruce Batten, second was Frank Nolan (15min 1sec) and third was lan Tracey (15min 22sec). These good times for the junoirs indicate that Vic will have a lot of strength in the seasons to come.
The Vic Harrier Club recently competed in the inter club Shaw Baton Relay race held at Johnsonville West.
Varsity fielded three Senior teams and one Junior team. This was Vic's biggest participation in this race so far. Each team consists of six runners who each run a lap of one and one tenth miles.
In the Senior race the Vic. A. team was lying 8th at the end of the first lap run by Eric Cairns in a time of 5mins 40sec George Seconi in the second lap (5min 41sec.) passed the Kapiti team, the Wellington E team and the Hutt A team! Bryan Dawkins maintained this place with a time of 5 min 46sec, lan Hunt (5min 56sec) on the fourth lap lost a place to the Hutt team and Peter Konig (5min 57 sec) on the next lap was unable to reverse this placing. In the last lap Ian Stockwell with a lap time of 5min 42sec. passed the Hutt runner and took Varsity back to 5th place with a total time of 34min 42sec. The first teams home were Wellington Harriers A. 32min 58sec. Olympic 33mm 27sec, Scottish A. 34min 6sec, Wellington Harriers B. 34min 8sec.
The Vic 'B' team saw Wayne Stevens finish 25yh in the first lap with a time of 7 minutes. Bernie O'Donnel improved this to 20th place with a time of 6 min 9sec. Richard Owen gained one place with a time of 7 minutes and Roger Clark (6min 40sec) also gained a place. The two strong runners in the 'B' team, Tony Burge (5min 59sec) and Tony Woolhouse (5min 58sec) pushed the B team up to finish in 14th place with a time of 38mm 43sec.
The C team finished in 30th place out of 33 teams competing. The C team members and times were as follows; Norm Rodley (8min 29sec), Alan Jenkins (7min 52sec). Steve Havill (6min 44sec), Malcolm Rise-borough (7min 32sec), John Riseborough (8min 59sec) and Peter Wiltshire (8min 17sec)
The Junior team finished 6th in their race with a time of 37min 3sec behind Scottish A (35min 7sec), Hutt A (35min 42sec), Olympic A 35min 55sec),United A (35mm 58sec), and Master-ton (36min 57sec).
The individual Vic Junior times were: Bruce Cumming (5min 52sec), Lance Malkin (6min 39sec), Frank Nolan (6min 3sec), Philip Rodley (6mm 51sec), Ian Tracey (5min 58sec), and Bruce Batten (5min 40sec). Bruce Batten's time was the 6th fastest for a Junior that day.
Eric Cairns the sole Victoria University entrant, won the 1971 Marathon held at Pal-merston North. His time of 2hrs 41min 29sec was an outstanding performance as 'his was only his second run over the distance.
Previous Vic winners have been John Souter (1967) and Peter Konig (1970). In all Vic runners have won the title 3 times out of the 5 years this race has been going for.
Ian Dunn on Rugby
A Rugby club fielding 17 teams and provided with the social facilities such as those enjoyed by our members should be titanic in strength—but this is not the case with the Vic club. The press openly speculates about the A's chances in the Hardham Cup—outsiders from other clubs describe the B's and the C's as the poorest such varsity teams they have seen for years and an ever-growing army of reserves for these teams includes players whose talents should not be allowed to languish like "some Village Hampden yet unborn" on the sideline.
A student's first priority is clear—studies are paramount. It is when second priorities are fixed that the vague boundary between sport and social life becomes almost indistinguishable. Rugby as one of the finest team games available offers an unrivalled opportunity to experience the type of comradene which the RSA assures us is only available to those who have fought wars overseas. (Which of course is baits.)
It is a fifteen-man game where 14 of the side are depending on the 15th not because they have to, not because they must do, but simply because they want to. That is the essence of team spirit and if you wish to play for a team it is your responsibility to present yourself in a degree of physical fitness which will ensure you last eighty minutes of match rugby.
Rugby should not be played to get fit—that sort of twaddle went when the playing-fields of Eton ceased producing those enlightened exponents of a colonizing civilisation which made Hitler's solution to "the Jewish question" resemble a garden party. Those who talk loudest and longest about not having enough time to train are those frequently seen in establishments which promote brewery profits!
One side enjoying early success is comprised entirely of students, some of whom are taking as many as five units. The members of this team would never qualify for Mick Bremner's skinheads but these same footballers all attended their regular practice at 8 pm following "Procesh" and after participation in those activities which are an integral part of that day. This is just one example of the loyalty of these players to each other, which loyalty is epitomised on the football field. Their enthusiastic playing of "true varsity football" has brought praise from Mick Bremner himself and their victories have been tribute to their attitudes to the game. These young men, the majority of whom have yet to turn 20, reflect great credit on their team, the club and themselves. It is to be hoped that their position in the grade at the end of the season will be an adequate indictment of those older footballers who have chosen to devalue their abilities by playing in grades which are beneath their individual talents and personal dignity.
I would be unfair if I were to describe these older players as members of "social" teams—rather. I prefer the circumlocution "those foot-ballers who play for sides which do not have regular and organised team training sessions". Those players should remember that they are "selling themselves short" and, albeit of secondary importance to cheapening their own image, are not helping the Club.
The form of the Junior 1st, 2nd and Under 19 sides is encouraging for the future, but the picadors have already commenced their blood- letting activities on the body of Victoria University Rugby, and the matador is poised for the moment of truth—so you more experienced players remember your obligations to your team, your club, and above all to yourselves, by playing in as high a grade as your abilities permit.
The Tournament team squad is now being formed. Anybody who wishes to be considered for inclusion should contact the Club Captain, John Reeve—894-956(home) 887-100x69 (bus) or the Secretary, Clife Laking—552-3 16(home) 46-040x304(bus) as soon as possible. This reminder applies particularly to student players who are members of other clubs.
In the local competition, the first team has finally notched a win with a 3-2 victory over Western Suburbs. Lower grade teams are performing indifferently, the seventh grade team being the only side to date having a desirable imbalance between wins and losses.
* *Brackets are mine.