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No. 37 (December 1961)
– 59 –


Press criticism on the game has been in my opinion unnecessarily severe. I do not think the game was unduly rough and I think the key to the Maoris' victory was that they had the fitter and stronger forward pack. The dominating feature of the match was the tremendous drive exerted by the Maori forwards. Maniapoto, the lineout anchor, fiery and fast, was always a threat to the Frenchman; Nathan and V. Yates, both superbly fit men, constantly harassed the French back line, and always looking for an opportunity to turn defence into attack, Wordley solid and dependable at all times, Piaka, Koopu, Walker and Porima all contributed to making this one of the mightiest Maori forward packs for many years.

The back lines were fairly evenly matched, but Walsh and Thompson made some penetrating bursts, with the few opportunities that came their way. Walsh and Walters were perhaps the pick of the Maori backs, Walsh, the Captain and perhaps the youngest “old” international Rugby representative ever, doing grand work on cover defence, while Walters, ever reliable as the last line of defence, showed his prowess was not confined to orthodox fullback play. Ransley and Yates showed dash on the wings and were always sound on defence. The link between Marshall and Herewini was not always sound, but they too showed great determination, especially on defence.

The match was truly an effort by the Maori team to regain the prestige which had slipped during the South African and British Isles tours of New Zealand. They tried tremendously hard at all times and succeeded, not by brilliant back play, but by determination and dedication to a task, which many thought was beyond them. Those of us who made the trip to Napier will always have vivid memories of this second encounter.