The arrival of the southern hemisphere rugby tourists have prompted a flurry of articles recalling the game’s early years.
Writing in the Guardian, Frank Keating tells the story of New Zealand’s first match in England, against Devon at the County Ground in Exeter, on 16 December 1905. He also touches on the origins of the “All Blacks” name which was first coined during the nearly all-conquering tour.
Sadly the County Ground is no more – it has been acquired for a housing development. According to Exeter Memories the ground had a long and illustrious history as a venue for many sports: cricket, cycling, tennis, horse shows and, later, speedway and greyhound racing. However, for the time being, the site of the ground still features on Google Maps:
View The County Ground, Church Road, Exeter in a larger map
A recent post on the All Black’s first defeat by a club side in the British Isles can be found here.
The Irish Times reports that Irish-language TV channel, TG4, is to broadcast a four-part documentary series on the history of rugby since the game was first played at Trinity College Dublin in 1854. Produced by Fastnet Films, the Gualainn le Gualainn series includes previously unseen footage of Ireland-France matches dating from 1912. Any chance that we might get to see it east of the Irish Sea? How about it C4 or BBC4?
My post on the 35 venues in the British Isles that have hosted 4/5 or 6 Nations rugby international can be found here.