October 2 - NZ Services v Wasps, 1943

With many young New Zealanders serving in the United Kingdom in World War II it is not surprising that they combined together for sporting activities. Hence a New Zealand Services rugby club was formed and operated in England, Wales, Ireland and France 1941 to 1946.

All three branches of the Services played for the club, with frequent changes of personnel as players were posted to other theatres, were absent on operations or became wartime casualties. A total of 73 games were played with some 240 players involved. Many appeared just once, three, Eric Grant, Ray Dalton and Morrie Goddard played over 30 matches.

War time match programme

Summary of matches:

  • 1941-42: Played 7, won 3, lost 4. Points for 68, points against 81.

  • 1942-43: Played 12, won 7, lost 5. For 108, against 102.

  • 1943-44: Played 12, won 8, drew 2, lost 2. For 113, against 63.

  • 1944-45: Played 20, won 9, drew 1, lost 10. For 284, against 239.

  • 1945-46: Played 22, won 19, drew 1, lost 2. For 359, against 112.

The first match of the 1943-44 was against Wasps at Sudbury in Suffolk on October 2nd, resulting in a 3 all draw. Grant, playing on the wing, scored the Services’ try.

Grant and lock forward Frank Crist were the best known of the Services players in this match. The former had played for Poverty Bay 1933-34, 37-38, Auckland 1935-36, NZ Universities 1936, North Auckland 1939 and PB-EC-BOP 1937. During the way years he also appeared for the RAF, RNZAF-RAAF, Dominions and RAF, Wasps XV, Scotland Services and Combined Dominions as well as NZ Services.

Crist, a Spitfire pilot, played 28 games for NZ Services over two seasons and also appeared for Wasps XV. Post war he played for Wellington 1948-51, was an All Black triallist and appeared for the Centurions and similar clubs until 1956. A schoolteacher he coached the Wellington College 1st XV 1953-62 and was principal of Hastings BHS from 1965 until retiring in 1984.