September 28 - 1927 All Blacks trial

With the All Blacks due to make their first tour of South Africa in 1928 trial matches were played late in the 1927 season. Regional trials were played in Napier, Westport, Wanganui, Auckland and Dunedin. These were followed by a North Island “Possibles” v “Probables” match in Palmerston North and the South Island equivalent in Christchurch a day later. This report covers the latter match.

This was not the end of the process. Three days after the Christchurch trial the annual North v South match was held in Wellington with the final trial, New Zealand “Possibles” v “Probables” four days later, also in Wellington.

Bill Dalley, captain of Probables

Bill Hazlett, captain of Possibles




Forwards too good.

The trial match played at Lancaster Park yesterday for the South Island team to play against the North Island at Wellington on Saturday revealed the fact that there is a wealth of South Island talent in the forward division available for selection to represent New Zealand in the forthcoming tour of Africa, and a number of useful backs. The weather was bright and sunny, with a cooling breeze from the sou’west, and the ground was in excellent order. For an off-day, and considering the comparatively high price of admission, there was a large attendance.

The match did not provide a brilliant exposition of the code but the display of the Possibles’ forwards was good to see and there were occasional flashes of brilliance on the part of the backs, mostly among those representing the Probables. It was evident that the selectors had put what they considered to be the best back team in the Probables, and the best forwards in the Possibles, and it was probably due to this fact that the play was so uneven. Had the teams been selected with a view to obtaining an even distribution of strength, it would have provided a better contest, which would have proved more satisfactory to the spectators.

The Possibles’ forwards proved altogether too good for their opponents, beating them in all departments of the game except hooking. They secured the ball from the line-outs, and frequently swept all before them in foot rushes, while in the tight they also showed to advantage. The Possibles’ forwards gave their side so great an advantage in fact that the superiority of the Probables’ backs was inadequate to turn the scale in their favour.

Of the Possibles’ forwards, Alley, Stewart and Hazlett were always in the picture, and it will be surprising if they are not all selected as All Blacks. They were adequately supported by Snow, Marslin, and Hore, and while Scrimshaw did not show up to the same extent as usual he was nevertheless conspicuous for his efforts. As previously, stated the hooking of the Possibles left a lot to be desired, but it must be remembered that Burrows was a notable absentee, a boil on the shoulder keeping him out of the game. If Hore had been partnered by him there might have been a different tale to tell in this respect.

Clark and Mills hooked well for the Probables and Godfrey, Freitas, Johnstone, and Bird did good work, but found the opposing packmen too good for them. Keen interest was taken in Freitas, the West Coaster, who made a good impression but be lacks finish yet. With experience, however, more should be heard of him in the future.

At fullback Lilburne played a good game, his fielding and kicking being all that could be desired. But he made the mistake of waiting on the line to tackle Snodgrass on the occasion of the wing three-quarter’s try, instead of going out to meet him five yards or so from the line. When Stewart scored, Lilburne was also too far back. Heazelwood, full-back for the Possibles, also performed well, but did not have as much to do as his vis-a-vis, being on winning side, and not being pressed by the Red and Black forwards to the same extent as the Canterbury man.

Of the three-quarters, Steel played spectacular football. He made mistakes at times, but the two tries he scored will long be remembered. It is unlikely that there is another winger playing who would have obtained the try he got when he beat Snodgrass and Hore to do so. Robilliard must have felt uncomfortable as the game went on and still the ball did not come his way. In the circumstances he had no chance to show what he could do. McClymont evidently went on the field determined to watch Robilliard, and prevent his scoring at all costs, rather than to try to score himself.

Lindsay showed better form than Carleton, whom he beat badly towards the end of the game when he scored. Carleton was a sufferer from the bad passes which Strang gave him, and on the day was not up to expectations. Snodgrass is a player with weight and speed. He left Steel badly in the first spell when he got his try, and gave the impression that with a few matches in a metropolitan club he would get the polish necessary to put him in the top class.

McGregor was the best of the five-eighths and played one of his best games. Strang was the best of the others.

Dalley gained the decision over Holden but both halves played well. The Canterbury man, however, had the more to do as he was behind a beaten pack. Holden was just a shade behind him, and evidently has all the qualifications of a good half.

The teams were:—

PROBABLES. (Red and Black.) Full-back— H. Lilburne (Canterbury). Three-quarters—A. C. C. Robilliard (Canterbury), S. R. Carleton (Canterbury), J Steel (Canterbury). Five-eighths—A. Strang (South Canterbury), second, N. P. McGregor (Canterbury), first. Half-back—W. Dalley (Canterbury). Wing-forward—W. Johnston (Southland). Forwards- C. Finlayson (Otago), R M Bird (Southland), W. Cameron (North Otago), A Freitas (West Coast), H. B. Godfrey (Canteibury), F. Clark (Canterbury), C. Mills (Southland).

POSSIBLES. (Black) Fullback—L. Heazelwood (Otago). Three-quarters-W McClymont (Otago), D Lindsay (Otago), A. Snodgrass (Nelson). Five-eighths-H. Jamieson (West Coast), second, W A Reed (Nelson), first), Half-back- A Holden (Otago). Wing-forward—G. Scrimshaw (Canterbury). Forwards- E Snow (Nelson), A Marslin (Otago), R. Stewart (South Canterbury, G T Alley (Canterbury), W Hazlett (Southland), H. Young (Nelson), J Hore (Otago).

The Play

Note: For the sake of brevity we have only included the scoring movements in this section.

……….Steel was tackled by Snodgrass, but wriggled clear and kicked upfield. Play was soon returned, and Lindsay kicked a pretty penalty goal. Possibles 3, Probables 0.

……….The Black forwards came away with ball at toe, but Dalley picked up and cleared. Just afterwards Snodgrass accepted a pass and beat Steel, to be tackled on the line by Lilburne. Snodgrass smashing past score. Lindsay kicked a beautiful goal. Possibles 8, Probables 0.

……….Snodgrass again beat Steel, and after a handy run sent to Stewart, who had only to fall over Lilburne to score. Lindsay again was successful with the kick. Possibles 13, Probables 0.

……….Then came a sensational piece of play. Robilliard ran strongly and sent out to McGregor, who kicked. Steel followed up and scored what appeared to be an impossible try by fending off Snodgrass and three other defenders to do so. His kick at goal was unsuccessful. Possibles 13, Probables 3.

……….At half-time the score was: Possibles 13, Probables 3.

………The ball was then sent to Steel, who was tackled by Snodgrass. Just afterwards Steel got a chance to score another try. He ran straight into. Heazelwood, knocked him over, and with Hore grabbing him, tore over at the corner — a remarkable try. Strang’s kick missed. Probables 13, Possibles 6.

………Steel then had a kick from a penalty, and landed a beautiful goal. Possibles 13, Probables 9.

………The Black forwards swept downfield, and Alley, accepting a pass, made a dashing run, before sending on to Hore, who ran round behind the posts. Lindsay again goaled. Possibles 18, Probables 9.

……… Steel had an unsuccessful kick at goal from a penalty. Then from a pretty dribbling effort by the forwards Snodgrass scored, Lindsay’s kick being unsuccessful. Possibles 21, Probales 9.

……….Another penalty from half-way was again missed by .Steel after which Stewart was caught flagrantly offside and Strang kicked a penalty goal. Possibles 21, Probables 12.

……… Another penalty kick taken by Strang again went between the posts. Possibles 21, Probables 15.

……… Snodgrass dribbled down the left wing, but Dalley saved. The next moment Reed received the ball from a line-out, and touched down. Lindsay made no mistake with the kick. Possibles 26, Probables 15.

……….From a scrum the ball came out to the Black backs, and Carleton badly missed Lindsay, who ran over and scored, converting his try. The whistle sounded with the scores: Possibles 31, Probables 15.

Mr A H Guiney (Ashburton Union) was the referee.”——-10–1—-0–&st=1