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On the ball: a rugby blog

Frank Acheson's 1924-25 All Blacks rugby tour diary, MSS & Archives 96/1, Special Collections, University of Auckland Library

In July 1924 Judge Frank Acheson of the Native Land Court was chosen by the All Blacks’ Management Committee to travel with the team on their upcoming tour of Britain, France and Canada.
 
A keen rugby enthusiast, Acheson kept a detailed, well-written diary of the tour, which is now held in Special Collections. His diary covers many events on and off the field, including an account of the game against England in January 1925 during which loose forward Cyril Brownlie was sent off for his part in a fight, gaining Brownlie the dubious honour of being the first rugby player sent off during a test match.
“The weather cleared up for the big match on Saturday 3rd and a tremendous crowd (about 60,000 – a record) attended at Twickenham. The Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister (Mr Baldwin) attended – also a very large contingent of New Zealanders and Australians. 

The referee unfortunately spoilt the game by very unjustly ordering off a NZ player (C. Brownlie who had taken Les Cupples place) in the first five minutes. Although he should have ordered off two English players instead! However NZ with only 14 men beat England (with 15 men) by 17 to 11. NZ with its full team would have won by about 30 points.”
The collection also includes handwritten drafts for the haka Acheson and Wiremu Rangi, of Gisborne, composed for the side on the voyage to England, two beautiful black hat bands embroidered with the silver fern, a photograph and other ephemera.
 
Katherine Pawley, Special Collections
 
References
Acheson, Frank O. V. (1887-1948). Papers, 1906-1948. MSS & Archives 96/1, item 1/5. Special Collections, University of Auckland Library.
Profile for Cyril Brownlie by Lindsay Knight - Rugby Museum website. http://www.rugbymuseum.co.nz/default.asp?level1=Home

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# re: On the ball: a rugby blog

This tour is the only time a major tour was undertaken to Rugby heartland and the touring team happened to win ALL of their games(Australia was not counted as a major rugby nation). Denied a probable grand slam because Scotland would not play the All Blacks as the ultra conservative Scottish Rugby Union was still angry about the financial arangement from the 1905 'Originals' test where the ABs made a substantial profit and were 'granted' a small expense of 3 shillings per day while on tour. Happily now the relationship between the 2 rugby unions is a lot warmer and closer. The "Invincibles" tour included all time legends such as George Nepia, Mark Nicholls, and the fearsome Brownlie brothers Cyril and Maurice. 9/7/2011 4:56 PM | Rod

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