New Zealand v England Rugby.
ALL BLACKS v ENGLAND RUGBY 1936 & THE FLYING PRINCE.
New Zealand v England Rugby meet for the 43rd International at Twickenham on Saturday. So far, the All Blacks have won 33. England Rugby has won 8. With 1 match drawn.
New Zealand v England Rugby in 1936
One of England’s most famous victories over New Zealand was back in 1936. Against all odds, they defeated the tourists by 13 points to nil. The match was watched by a large crowd as 73 000 people packed into Twickenham Stadium.
The unlikely hero on the day was the Russian-born winger and Prince, Alexander Obolensky. Alexander’s father, Prince Serge, was an officer in the Tsar’s Imperial Horse Guards. And his mother was Princess Lubov Naryshkina. They had fled their home for England and started a new life in Muswell Hill, North London.
England Rugby Hero – The Flying Prince
The young Obolensky played multiple sports. But his speed made him a hit at Rugby. He was nicknamed – ‘The Flying Prince’. But, it was at Oxford University that he caught the attention of England selectors. However, there was some controversy over his selection. The second-year undergraduate was issued with a British passport just in time for the New Zealand game.
As the England players were being presented to His Royal Highness Prince Edward of Wales, he asked Obolensky ‘by what rights do you presume to play for England?’ 80 minutes later and the flying wings performance had answered that question He scored two tries. And helped England to a 13-0 first-ever win over the All Blacks.
Two Tries that helped Defeat New Zealand
His first try started 60 metres out. And was initiated by Peter Cranmer. The Outside Centre lifted the ball into the path of the onrushing Obolensky. The winger weaved through two kiwi defenders. Then made an arching run toward the touchline. He evaded the last man before sliding over.
But, his second score came as a result of good support play. As Obolensky mirrored the run of his fly-half Peter Candler. Slowing his pace to receive the ball. Then readjusting his run to cut back inside and sprint diagonally toward the corner flag. Leaving four players in his wake and over the try line to secure the win.
Selected for the British Lions and gained only 3 more England Rugby caps
Later that year Obolensky was selected for the British & Irish Lions’ tour to Argentina. Sadly for England and for rugby. Obolensky would go on to win just three more England caps.
In 1938 he joined the Royal Air Force Auxiliary. And was tragically killed two years later during a flight training exercise at Martlesham Heath Airfield.
Celebrating Great New Zealand v England Rugby Teams
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