Ask John
Cap centurions, South Africa v East Africa, Test full-houses and cross-coders
John Griffiths
June 20, 2011

Welcome to the latest edition of Ask John where renowned rugby historian John Griffiths will answer any rugby-related query you have!

So, if there's something you've always wanted to know about the game we love but didn't know who to ask, or you think you can stump our expert - then get involved by sending us a question.

In this edition, John Griffiths looks at those who have passed the centurion mark in Test rugby, the line-up in the East Africa vs Springboks 1961 match, those who have completed a grand-slam in a Test match (try, conversion, penalty and drop-goal), cross-coders and the background of William Hall.

According to a newspaper report, Wales's Stephen Jones was the 17th man to win 100 caps for his country. Who were the others and how many caps did they win? David Edwards, England

Stephen Jones became Wales's second centurion when he played in the cap-match against the Barbarians. The list of those with 100 for their country only (ie excluding Test appearances for the Lions) reads as follows:

Test centurions:
139 George Gregan (Australia)
118 Fabien Pelous (France)
114 Jason Leonard (England)
112 Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)
111 Phillipe Sella (France)
110 George Smith (Australia)
108 Ronan O'Gara (Ireland)
105 Victor Matfield (SA)
104 John Hayes (Ireland)
104 Chris Paterson (Scotland)
102 Stephen Larkham (Australia)
102 Percy Montgomery (SA)
102 John Smit (SA)
101 David Campese (Australia)
101 Alessandro Troncon (Italy)
100 Gareth Thomas (Wales)
100 Stephen Jones (Wales)

Were Lions Test appearances to be consolidated then Martyn Williams would qualify for the 100-club. He has won 98 caps for Wales and played in four Tests for the Lions. Click here for a list of the most capped internationals courtesy of Statsguru.

In a recent column you mentioned the 1961 match between East Africa and the Springboks? I have been unable to track down the team line-ups for the match. Anon, South Africa

The match was played on February 25th 1961 while the 'Boks were on a stopover during a journey home from Europe.It will be noted that Hannes Botha (a flanker normally) and Giepie Wentzel (normally a full-back) played out of position:

South Africans: J P F Botha; J P Engelbrecht, G J Wentzel, A I Kirkpatrick, B-P van Zyl; K Oxlee, P de W Uys; S P Kuhn, R Johns, J L Myburgh, A S Malan (captain), H S van der Merwe, P J van Zyl, D J Hopwood, F C H du Preez

East Africa: R Sudbury; C C Young (captain), B T Wigley, A R Ward, N G Patterson; J R Rowland, T I N Thomas; G T Thorpe, F A R Bwye, W S Baird, D S Reynolds, C H Elphick, B R Granville-Ross, F S Hewitt, H Kruger.

Mr W S Thomas of the Kenyan Rugby Referees Society controlled the game.

Can you give me (us) any information on players scoring a grand slam (Try, Con, Pen, Drop ) in Test match rugby? Who was the first and has anyone done it more than once. As far as I know DB Clarke was the only All Black: for NZ against England in 1963 at Eden Park. Who else has done it for the other big 7 nations. Ian Monzari, New Zealand

J Shea - Wales v England, Swansea, 1920
B L Jones - Lions v Australia, Brisbane, 1950
D B Clarke - NZ v England, Auckland, 1963
G Camberabero - France v Wales, Paris, 1967
J-P Romeu - France v England, Paris, 1974
A R Hewson - NZ v Australia, Auckland, 1982
J-P Lescarboura - France v Romania, Toulouse, 1983
D Camberabero - France v Australia, Sydney, 1990
C M Chalmers - Scotland v Wales, Murrayfield, 1991
C R Andrew - England v SA, Pretoria, 1994
J T Stransky - SA v Australia, Cape Town, 1995
T Castaign├Ęde - France v Romania, Tucuman, 1995
C Lamaison - France v England, Twickenham, 1997
P J Grayson - England v Scotland, Murrayfield, 1998
C Lamaison - France v New Zealand, Twickenham, 1999
N R Jenkins - Wales v France, Paris, 2001
J P Wilkinson - England v Wales, Twickenham, 2002
A S Pretorius - SA v NZ, Durban, 2002
J P Wilkinson - England v NZ, Twickenham, 2002
R J R O'Gara -Ireland v Samoa, Apia, 2003
D J Hougaard - SA v Samoa, Brisbane, 2003
F Michalak - France v Scotland, Sydney, 2003
C C Hodgson - England v SA, Twickenham, 2004
J P Wilkinson - England v Scotland, Twickenham, 2007
J W Hook - Wales v England, Cardiff, 2007
R J R O'Gara - Ireland v Italy, Belfast, 2007

The Camberaberos are father and son.

I noticed that in your 25th April piece, you updated the list of cross-code players that you had initially compiled in your piece dated 11th April. In addition to Union players who have excelled at soccer, Aussie Rules and in the NFL, there are also a number of Irish players who have played Gaelic Football at a high level prior to, or occasionally preceding, their rugby career. These would include the following retired players: Mick Galwey - Munster, Ireland, B&I Lions and Kerry; Dick Spring - Munster, Ireland and Kerry; Eric Miller - Leinster, Leicester, Ireland, B&I Lions and Dublin; Moss Keane - Munster, Ireland, B&I Lions and Kerry U21. And also current players: Rob Kearney - Leinster, Ireland, B&I Lions and Louth U18, Tommy Bowe - Ospreys, Ireland, B&I Lions and Monaghan U18, Shane Horgan - Leinster, Ireland, B&I Lions and Meath U18. Gavin Duffy - Connacht, Ireland and Mayo U18 and Geordan Murphy - Leicester, Ireland, B&I Lions and Kildare U18. As you might notice, there is a striking correlation between those who played GAA prior to their rugby careers, and then went on to be capped by the British and Irish Lions (Eric Miller would be an exception, having appeared for Dublin after his rugby career had ended). Maurice O'Brien, Ireland

Thank you to other readers who submitted the claims of several of these Irish international rugby players. Maurice's list was the fullest.

My Great Grandpa played internationally for Ireland. His name was William Hall and he played fly-half. Do you have any other information about his playing career? Harry Skelly, Australia

William Herdman Hall was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and captained the school rugby XV in his last year. The school had had a long history of producing Irish international players going back to the 1870s (capped mainly from the Queen's University or North of Ireland/NIFC senior sides) but it was the success of Hall's schoolboy team that was largely responsible for the formation in 1919 of the Instonians RFC as a club for former pupils of the school.

The club won the Ulster Junior League title in its first season to earn immediate promotion to senior status in 1920-21. William Hall, together with his half-back partner John McDowell, and with Bob McClenahan, Arthur Douglas and a teenaged Tom Hewitt in the threequarter line, headed a lively back division that went on to win back-to-back Ulster Senior Cup titles.

The club's meteoric rise attracted the attentions of the Ulster selectors and in January 1923, after splendid performances for the Ulster side that won the Irish Inter-Pro Championship, Hall and McClenahan became the first players to be capped by Ireland directly from the Inst club. They were on a side that was well-beaten by England at Leicester, but Hall impressed the critics who praised his tackling, passing and straight running.

He played throughout the Five Nations Championship in 1923 and after helping Ulster to retain their Inter-Pro title in 1924, he and McDowell - despite appearing on opposing sides in the Probables v Possibles Final Trial - became the first Instonians club pair to play half-back for Ireland when they were selected to face France in January 1924. Ireland won 6-0, but both were dropped for England's visit to Belfast (England's only international match to date in the North's first city) a fortnight later.

Hall returned for Ireland's visit to Scotland later in the season but never again played for his country, losing his fly-half position for Inst, Ulster and Ireland to Frank Hewitt who became Ireland's youngest-ever cap when he faced Wales in March 1924.

Instonians thus had the unusual distinction of providing Ireland with two out-halves in the same Five Nations season only five years after their foundation. Frank Hewitt and McDowell, moreover, became the club's second pair of half-backs to play together for Ireland when they faced New Zealand in November 1924.

But William Hall, who became a chartered accountant, clearly played a significant part in putting the club on the map.

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