December 26 - 1945 'Kiwis' remain unbeaten

The NZEF Army team scored a narrow but meritorious win over a highly rated Cardiff team that included some players high quality. Though the “Kiwis” had the better of the game they were helped by Cardiff missing two very kickable penalties late in the game.


N.Z.P.A. —Copyright—Rec. 11.30 a.m. LONDON, Dec. 26.

The New Zealand Army touring Rugby team, the Kiwis, is still unbeaten. It defeated Cardiff by 3 points to nil, this being Cardiff’s first loss of the season.

New Zealand scored a try 12 minutes after the start, and this proved the only score of the match.

Proctor, from a lineout, started a passing movement, Argus cut through and sent Kearney over Cardiff’s line.

The New Zealand forwards were the match winners. Finlay, McPhail, Woolley and Johnston were always prominent.

The match drew 25,000 spectators.

Although the Kiwis only won by a narrow margin, it was a fine performance, as the Cardiff fifteen was rated by English critics to be one of the strongest in the country.

Cardiff has always been a tough proposition for touring New Zealand Rugby teams. The 1905 All Blacks, who lost only one match, just got home against Cardiff by 10 points to 8. Then the 1924 All Blacks beat Cardiff 16—8 after a strenuous game.

Eleven years later the last New Zealand side to tour Great Britain fared much better against the Welsh side, winning by 20 points to 5.

Yesterday’s was the Kiwis’ twelfth match of the tour, and so far they have maintained an unbeaten record. The team has been held to a draw once—by the formidable Leinster side.”——-10–1—-0–&st=1

“Cardiff, on the Arms Park on Boxing Day, was a stern prospect especially with the nearly 30,000 spectators singing as only the Welsh can do – the atmosphere was electric.

AIl week the Kiwis had constantly been told ‘Cardiff will beat you’ in that delightfully ‘sing-song’ voice.

Heavy frosts had required that the park be covered in straw, but after it was cleared away it rained, which made for a sticky surface.

The pressure was really on the Kiwis to win this one.

They went on the attack from the start with Finlay leading by example and Argus making a strong run, but his kick ahead was cleared just in time.

Haigh was making for the line with a clear run-in when the whistle blew for an offence, the referee saying Arnold had not played the tackled ball with his foot before the pass to Haigh. The crowd roared.

Play ranged from end to end and Scott saved brilliantly at one stage; then Kearney and Allen took play into Cardiff territory. From a scrum Proctor passed to Kearney then to Allen, then to Smith, who beat his man to give Argus room but he was tackled — but not before he in-passed to Smith, however. The Cardiff fullback went for Smith but slipped. The centre hurdled him but was thrown off balance. As he fell he got a call from inside and flicked up the ball for Kearney to take it and sprint for a welcome try. Scott missed the kick but at least the Kiwis were ahead 3—0 after 10 minutes of play.

Things then became hectic and the pace of the game frenetic with the Kiwi forwards giving their best performance to date. Proctor, again at halfback, was standing up to the rugged attentions of Cardiff’s ‘winging forwards’ who were not penalised for their many offside forays, as were Blake and Arnold.

Sherratt, after a break by Allen, flew down the right wing but Cardiff were saved when it was ruled he put a foot into touch. Arnold hurried Cleaver and Williams, driving them across field, and then they combined in a brilliant move to threaten the Kiwi line but Scott was on hand to save the day.

Kearney took a severe knock but carried on. He then went to kick but collapsed to the ground and left the field forcing Finlay to move back to halfback and Proctor to first-five. The Kiwis somehow managed to hold out until halftime thanks to Scott’s uncanny ability to save the line time and time again.

Maybe the presence of the Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, had a galvanising effect on the Kiwis.

Although suffering a severe hip injury, Kearney returned to the fray and was immediately committed to stopping several fierce forward rushes, his courage admirable.

Argus and Sherratt then featured in exciting runs, both nearly scoring. Mathews was forced to save hurriedly but, to his embarrassment, his clearing kick miscued and the ball shot over his goal-line. Finlay raced after it and grounded it for a fair try. This brought groans from the crowd, but to the Kiwis’ astonishment the referee ordered a drop-out.

Smith made several breaks and Argus was shoved out at the corner. The pace of the game had not slackened and at 3—0 to the Kiwis and time running out, the Welsh crowd were in a frenzy.

Then it seemed disaster had struck. Cardiff were offered a penalty attempt from a handy position. The crowd was hushed, the kick made, but the ball sailed wide. It was a reprieve which had Kiwi hearts racing because immediately after Cardiff was given another chance, again from a handy spot, and again, God knows why, the kick missed Then the whistle blew for fulltime. It was an important victory.”

From “KHAKI ALL BLACKS” by Mike Whatman. Pub.2005 by Hodder, Moa, Beckett. P. 54-56.

Jim Kearney scored the first try