Jaque Fourie, Heineken Cup red cards and the Grand Slam
January 3, 2011
Springbok Jaque Fourie boasts an unrivalled Test try record © Getty Images
The highest first-class points scorer, England's South African contingent and successive Grand Slams
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 answers questions on Jaque Fourie, Heineken Cup red cards, Dusty Hare, the Grand Slam and a crossbar collapse.
In your article on December 6 you said that the first class points record is held by Grant Fox (with 4112 points), but surely Dusty Hare's tally of 7337 (or 7191 depending where you look) beats this? Tim Skepper, England
The point is well made and highlights the difficulties faced dealing with rugby statistics at club level in the Home Unions before official competitions were launched.
Dusty Hare did score more than seven thousand first-team career points if his performances at club level for Newark, Notts (later Nottingham) and Leicester are added to his Test and other representative match hauls, but the majority of his club matches were in "friendlies" at a time when no attempt to categorise fixtures officially as first-class was ever made.
Although the RFU launched their Cup competition in 1971-72, official League fixtures in England did not begin until 1987. Hare played for Newark in the early 1970s and joined Leicester from Notts in 1976, but only managed two seasons of official league rugby (with Leicester in 1987-88 and 1988-89).
Matches in England at sub-representative/club level have become easier to categorise as first-class since the dawn of the professional era and the introduction in 1995-96 of the Heineken and Challenge Cups under ERC's auspices.
In South Africa and New Zealand, however, where representative rugby has always predominated, a strict definition of first-class matches was easier to make and existed from the early days of the game. Points scored for club teams in those countries do not count for first-class records. The details given for Fox and Botha included only matches designated as having first-class status.
To try to compare like with like therefore, Dusty Hare's remarkable haul of seven-thousand-plus career first-team points were not all regarded as arising from first-class fixtures.
I understand Jaque Fourie has scored tries against all 16 international opponents he faced (includes the Lions). Is this a record and if not who is holding the record? Chris Bothma, South Africa
It certainly is the record among the Top Tier nations. He overtook David Campese.and Gareth Thomas (who managed to score tries against 15 nations during their Test careers) when he crossed against Italy in Udine in November, 2009, giving him tries against all 16 of the nations he has played against..
Fourie's try-scoring record by nation reads as follows:
The world record of this kind is held by the Japanese wing Daisuke Ohata, who in the course of his 58-Test career between 1996 and 2006 notched up tries against 20 different opponents. All told, Ohata scored 69 tries for Japan, also a world record.
The recent red cards in Heineken Cup matches given to Xavier Rush, Sailosi Tagicakibau & Paul O'Connell made me wonder who else is in the "Hall of Shame" - could you provide a list? Andrew Willis, England
It's a long list with some very distinguished names. The following were red-carded up to the end of last season's tournament:
Is there a case for including the All Blacks' four wins over the Home Unions in the 1995 World Cup in the list of Grand Slams achieved? I remember Laurie Mains bringing it up after the one in 2005. I'm a little hazy on the criteria, but I would have thought so - even though it wasn't a European tour, the four wins were achieved in the same tournament. James, New Zealand
There's no hard and fast rule but the use of the term "Grand Slam" in a rugby context derives from March 1957 when The Times and Daily Telegraph used it to hail England's invincible Championship season. England beat Wales, then Ireland and France and it was after the Scotland win that the expression was used.
The correspondents responsible were Uel Titley and Michael Melford and it is understood that their original intention was to copy the meaning used in Bridge where the Grand Slam describes a game in which the winner takes ALL of the tricks.
So New Zealand's six wins in the 2010 Tri-Nations, for instance, have been hailed as a tournament Grand Slam. The reluctance to use the term in the context of the 1995 World Cup arguably comes down to the fact that the All Blacks were unable to win all their tournament matches.
It is interesting to see how the rugby correspondents described invincible achievements before 1957. When Wales won the "Grand Slam" in 1952 Dai Gent, the rugby correspondent of the Sunday Times, wrote: "Wales … became the season's outright champions, having won all their four matches."
In 1952, J B G Thomas had described Wales as finishing the season "unbeaten, thus repeating an honour last gained in 1911." The Guardian's correspondent said "[Wales] thus has vanquished all her four opponents in the championship for the first time since 1911," while Harold Day in the News Chronicle wrote: "[Wales] thus add the satisfaction of invincibility to the Triple Crown and championship. No country has scored four wins in the season since England in 1927-28. Wales last did so in 1911." Between England's Grand Slam in 1957 and Wales's win in 1971, France and Wales regularly dominated the Five Nations. Both L'Equipe and the Western Mail used the phrase extensively in their rugby columns in the 1960s helping it become part-and-parcel of rugby lore.
Wales were widely expected to win the Grand Slam in 1965 but were roundly beaten 22-13 by the French in Paris after winning the Triple Crown. By this time all of the London newspapers were using the expression in their descriptions of how the Welsh side had been denied the honour. France gained the honour for the first time in 1968, Denis Lalanne writing in L'Equipe: "… le premier grand chelem français dans l'histoire du vieux tournoi…"
Did the Argentine rugby international Arturo Rodriguez Jurado win a Boxing Gold medal at the Olympics?
Many thanks to several readers who mentioned this omission from the list of prominent rugby-playing boxers given in the last article.
Arturo Rodriguez Jurado played eight times for Argentina between 1927 and 1936 (long before the Pumas were a Top Tier nation), but he did win the Gold medal as a heavyweight boxer at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.
Have the goal-posts ever been knocked down as a result of a place-kick striking the crossbar or uprights? Anon
A highlight of the New Year fixtures used to be the annual meeting at the Richmond Athletic Ground of the English and Scottish Public Schoolboy teams. The match was organised by the Richmond and London Scottish clubs.
Back in 1950 the young Taunton School prop, David Hazell, played in England's 14-3 win, kicking a conversion and a penalty goal "of which any adult international could have been proud," wrote one journalist.
Hazell also landed the ball on the crossbar with a penalty kick from near half-way, causing it to collapse at one end. The ground-staff immediately ran out to replace the bar and the match continued without interruption.
Hazell was the only member of the English Schoolboys team who went on to win senior honours for England, playing four times as a prop in the 1955 Five Nations (and kicking three penalty goals). Robin Godfrey from Stonyhurst, one of his schoolboy team-mates as a centre, won senior honours for Ireland in 1954 while three of the Scottish schoolboys went on to win senior Scotland caps - David Gilbert-Smith, Ewen Fergusson and Kenneth Dalgleish, who scored the Scottish schoolboys' only try in that Richmond match with a 70-yard solo effort.
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