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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 8 (November 1, 1937)

Rugby Union Football in New Zealand

Rugby Union Football in New Zealand.

All is not well with Rugby football in New Zealand! This assertion may be proven by a search through the files of any newspaper published in New Zealand during the past six weeks. Perhaps the greatest good done to New Zealand football was the defeat of our representatives in the third Test at Auckland, when the Springboks won by 17 points to 6. For too long we have lived in the atmosphere of smug complacence; we have imagined that our footballers were the best on earth and we have been content to let posterity take care of itself.

Of course the blame is attached on the New Zealand Rugby Union, but the public cannot escape its share of criticism. It is the public which dictates the style of football played in any country—not the player nor the official! Dull, prosaie Rugby football will soon drive the public to seek other forms of amusement and to keep that public interest New Zealand players have been forced to alter the style of their play. Along came a team of players who played the game we had known in 1928—they admitted they had learned from Maurice Brownlie's team of that season—and they, the Springboks, showed us how football should be played.

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(W. W. Stewart Collection.) Arrival in Auckland of a special train from Wellington.

(W. W. Stewart Collection.)
Arrival in Auckland of a special train from Wellington.

The Rugby public should remember, too, that it has a big voice in the election of the New Zealand Rugby Union and if individuals refuse to assert their rights they should not have any redress.

Readers might ask just what say they have in the election of the N.Z.R.F.U.? Their voice in the Rugby world comes through the affiliated clubs. Any citizen of New Zealand may link up with a football club and vote at the annual meeting at which delegates to the Rugby Union are elected. These club delegates in turn elect a delegate who attends the annual meeting of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, at which meeting the principal officials for the year are appointed. It is, therefore, an easy matter to trace the connection between the individual supporter and the council officers of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.

Because New Zealand has struck a lean period in football—something that comes along in cycles in every sport and in every country—there is an element crying for the heads of the officials. Truly the sporting world is a peculiar one and a forgetful one!