September 7 - 1946 Canterbury surprise against Australia

Despite being one of the powerhouses of New Zealand Canterbury were not having a good season in 1946. After losses to West Coast, Wellington, the “Kiwis”, Southland and Otago expectations were not high when they faced Australia.

From “The Visitors” R H Chester & N A C McMillan, Moa Publications, pub. 1990 p.228-229.

Canterbury is traditionally one of the strongest teams in New Zealand, but in 1946 this union had a poor record and was not favoured to beat Australia when the two teams met in the sixth game of the tour. However, in a game marked by fast, bewildering back play, the home team prevailed by nine points.

Canterbury fielded a smattering of well-known players, including the All Black wing Wally Argus, who played at centre in this game. Two Kiwis, Jim Bond and Pat Rhind were the Canterbury props. Both later represented New Zealand, as did Bob Duff and Fred Hobbs. McHugh and Doug Herman had played for the South Island.

A crowd of about 12,000 saw the game, which was played in fine conditions. Within seven minutes the visitors had scored when the home players were caught napping following a quick throw-in by Jack McLean. He tossed the ball to his forwards, who immediately returned it to him and in a flash the Wallaby wing was over for a try. Piper missed the conversion.

The visitors were penalised twice in succession and, with his second attempt at goal, Lucre raised the flags from wide angle, the ball bouncing off a post before crossing the bar. Halfway through the spell Australia gave away a penalty and Lucre again steered the ball over from a difficult position.

Canterbury went further ahead when Rex Monigatti, who played a fine game at halfback, made a break on the blindside of a scrum, drew McLean and sent Drummond away to score. With a fine kick Lucre goaled from the touchline. Livermore made the halftime score 11-6 when he kicked a goal after Argus had been penalised for lying on the ball.

Drummond retired at halftime and Bolton came on at centre, Argus moving to the left wing. The home lead was increased soon after the restart when Lucre kicked another penalty goal, and a few minutes later the Canterburyt fullback was successful again, the Australian loose forwards having been caught offside at a scrum in front of their posts.

The home team appeared to be well on top at this stage but the visitors closed the gap with the best try of the match. Eastes jumped high to field the ball with one hand in his own 25. Taking off at full speed, he left McHugh standing, raced past Lucre and grounded the ball behind the posts. Livermore converted.

From a loose ruck Monigatti shot the ball to Argus, who raced away to the visitors’ line. Piper tackled him but the Canterbury centre crashed over near the corner. Lucre. missed with a difficult kick into the wind, and so the game ended in a 20-11 win to the home team.

There was little between the teams, but Australia lost the game through giving away too many penalties. Lucre kicked very well to swing the game Canterbury’s way and his all-round play was of a high standard. Argus and Monigatti were also in fine form, while Keamey was very sound on defence. Rhind played a real captain’s game in the forwards and Herman was outstanding.

Burke sent out excellent passes and was very courageous in the face of forward rushes. Bannon and Piper were sound, andEastes, who had few chances, showed his ability when he scored his try. McLean was solid on defence. McMaster stood out in the visitors’ pack, being in the thick of the fray from start to finish.

Pat Rhind - Canterbury captain