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SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1931. Volume 2. Number 4.

N.Z.U. Rugby Tour

page 8

N.Z.U. Rugby Tour

The following is a brief account of the New Zealand University football team's recent tour to Sydney.

The first thing that comes to one's mind is the very fine hospitality shown us by our hosts and their friends, who spared no effort to make our tour enjoyable and their efforts were certainly successful.

The sea trip was uneventful except for loss of one of the team's footballs—now probably "somewhere at sea." Of the party, two players and one manager alone answered every call of the bugle for meals. Deck training lapsed on the first two days for want of a quorum.

In Sydney we found that an energetic though not too accurate press agent had vested several of the team with All Black honours while on the water and others with many past feats of athletic prowess.

We first experienced Australian hospitality at the reception accorded on the first morning by the N.S.W. Rugby Union, where the team made the acquaintance of Messrs. Tooth and Pilsener—two characters so well known to Australians.

Most of the team were quartered at a hotel on the boundary of the City and Darlinghurst—the happy hunting-ground of the famous "razor-gang." The only members of that organisation seen by the team, however, were encountered in the various hair-dressing saloons of the city.

The first two days were filled with receptions including one by the New Zealand Women's Club (who later organised a "New Zealand Night') and a civic reception by the Lord Mayor, whose cigars were very popular with one member of the team. A luncheon and a dinner were also given by the Sydney 'Varsity Students' Council in the Union dining hall. Memories of one of last year's examination papers came to the writer when informed of the name of a Professor seated in close proximity. We were shown over the University buildings which are very fine, particularly the Medical School. Picturesquely grouped round the 'Varsity are the several residential colleges. The 'Varsity, which has a roll of approximately 3000, was on vacation during the greater part of our visit. They had just celebrated their Commemoration Day ceremonies, of which the procession is at present confined to the 'Varsity grounds.

We spent a most interesting morning when the team was conducted over "Our Bridge," by the Engineer-in-Chief, who gave an interesting account of its construction. We learnt (inter alia) that if all the strands of wire in the cables used in the preliminary construction were placed end-to-end, their length would equal half the circumference of the earth; also that the bridge contains over three million rivets—the "doubting Thomases" were invited to verify this figure by counting if they so desired!

The team were made members of the University and Tattersalls' Clubs—the latter said to be the finest club in Australasia. Several enjoyed a swim in the spacious swimming bath on the top floor of this club.

Perhaps the most educational and enjoyable ex-cursion of the tour was the visit to Perfold's vinery situated about 30 miles from Sydney. Here we gained an insight into the manufacture of champagne and sparkling wines. Perhaps no toasts were drunk more heartily than those drunk in the cellar of the vinery. Drinking songs were much in evidence. On the return journey to the city one of the team, found in possession of a "souvenir" was pursued into "the snake country" whence he was enticed only with great difficulty and cunning.

One of our hosts' "stoutest efforts" was the ball given in honour of the team on the night of the second Test. It will be long remembered by New Zealander and "Aussie" alike. The attendance was so large that dancing was in relays. The haka was never given with more gusto and effect than in the centre of the ballroom about the middle of the ball—small coteries endeavoured to imitate it during the concluding stages of the ball.

Space will not allow mention of many excursions enjoyed by the team. Among these was a trip to Mascot and a flight over Sydney; trip to Bulli and return through National Park where several keen rowing races were staged; trip to the Hawkesbury River and Palm Beach.

We saw some of the Australian countryside on the trip over the Blue Mountains to picturesque Orange about 250 miles north-west of Sydney. A feature of this trip was the civic reception at which there were no less than 14 speakers. One Orangeman commenced his speech with, "Mr. Mayor and members of the visiting bowling team." It was at Orange that two members incurred the displeasure of the local constabulary (a staunch League supporter) by their conducting a paper-boat race in one of the town's spacious gutters. On this trip also our Maori member added to his already fine collection of "souvenirs."

With respect to football the tour was also very successful, the team coming through undefeated, winning five games (including one against a N.S.W. team) and drawing the third Test against Sydney 'Varsity. That this game was played on the day following our visit to Penfold's can in no way detract from the fine display gvien by Sydney! We affected the open style of play which became very popular with the spectators. All the games save that against Western Suburbs at Orange were played on the picturesque University Oval. The games which were usually played to the accompaniment of music, the Conservatorium of Music being in the vicinity, were all played in a keen but friendly spirit and were rather spectacular, perhaps the most spectacular incident being a wonderful field goal by our fullback from our side of the half-way line in the game against N.S.W. Of the four players who played in all six matches of the tour three were V.U.C. representatives.

Lack of space forces me to relate only some of the incidents of the tour. Some are better told orally than in print such as that of the brief sojourn of two of the team in one of Sydney's "coolers" through an unfortunate though genuine mistake of a "limb of the law"; of the "shooting-up" of a hotel by the "cowboy" footballer; of the member, who finding himself "dummy" in the course of a respectable

See Max Riske as murderer No. 2.

page 9

bridge evening, arose and gave a sustained peroration of the scenic beauties of New Zealand in which the phrase "scintillating peaks" frequently occurred; of a member's encounter with a "snake" at Bulli, and so on.

The team were a happy band throughout, which was in no small measure due to the efforts of their very popular manager, Mr. Frank Petre—himself a New Zealand 'Varsity Blue in boxing and for several years a member of Canterbury College team. He set the team a splendid example "not only on the field" (he played for us at Orange), "but also off the field" (as at the ball!).