Auckland converted to rugby in 1873, though some of the steps were tentative.
This first game of Rugby in Auckland was to the members of Auckland Club a “scratch” one, and arrangements were then made for a “match” the following Saturday, but full teams were not available on that day, and “Thirteen Colonials” played “Eight Outsiders” instead. The report of The Daily Southern Cross (Auckland), Monday, May 5, included: —
“No goal was obtained by either side, but one ‘touch down’ was scored to the Colonials, who were slightly more numerous than their opponents. The play on both sides was good, and the new rules seem to have been well studied by the players. The subject of reframing these has been taken up by the Club, and will most probably be done at an early date.”
The proposed re-framing of the rules, however, did not take place until the next season.
Two sentences of historical interest appeared in The New Zealand
Herald (Auckland), Monday, May 5. These were:—
“We believe the Thames Club intends to adopt the same rules. A Club is also in course of formation at the North Shore.”
The last-mentioned match was continued on May 10, the “Outsiders “ kicking a goal to win the contest. Next, a “ Civilians “— “Volunteers” match was played, on May 24, The Daily Southern Cross (Auckland), Monday, May 26, recording: —
“About 24 members took part in it.”
“Colonials” defeated “The World” on June 14, scoring one goal and one touch down to nil.
North Shore Club now began to function, and the two Clubs combined to play a 12 a-side practice match on June 21. On July 5, Auckland Club staged a “Heavy-Weights “— “ Light-Weights” contest, the former scoring one goal to nil. Players weighing over 10 st. 10 lbs. were classed “ Heavy-Weights.”
From “The History of New Zealand Rugby Football Vol. 1 1870-1945” by A C Swan. First published 1948 by A H & A W Reed. P. 13.