January 26 - 1889 NZ 'Natives" defeat Somersetshire

After matches in the north of England the “Natives” headed to the west country, another English rugby stronghold. Their match in Wellington against Somersetshire resulting a in a surprisingly easy win.


London, January 27.

The Maoris played a game at Somerset yesterday, winning by four goals and five tries to one goal and one try.”


“From the north of England the touring party headed to the west country for four matches. For some reason, Eyton described Somerset as second only to Yorkshire in rugby prowess and predicted little success for the Native team. But the complete opposite proved to be the case: on 26 January the team defeated Somerset with their biggest and most stylish victory of the tour, scoring nine tries and winning 17-4. Somerset actually scored first and led 4-0 after exposing Madigan’s weakness as an unaccustomed full-back. But Keogh then gave an outstanding display of running, and Gage, Williams and Elliot each scored twice. As the local press enthused, “the passing of the visitors was a treat, while the way in which the whole team played was a noteworthy feature”. Eyton felt that moving from the gloom of Manchester had also helped. “The change of climate and quarters had no doubt much to do with their improved form.”

From “Forerunners of the All Blacks” by Greg Ryan. Published 1993 by Canterbury University Press. P.81.