1932 GREAT BRITAIN RUGBY LEAGUE. THE STORY BEHIND THE TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND.
Rugby League 1932 Tour by Great Britain visited Australia and New Zealand. The party was captained by Welshman Jim Sullivan. The following reports provide historical details on the three test matches played in New Zealand. Their style and content are taken from the details available.
Rugby League 1932 Tour. At Carlaw Park, Auckland — 30 July 1932 New Zealand 9 Great Britain 24 (HT 9-6)
After a difficult first half. The Lions used their three-quarters to excellent effect. Particularly in the second half to fashion a comfortable victory. The British forwards won the first half scrums 20-5. But, close spotting by the New Zealanders and a penalty advantage of 16-5 enabled the home team to turn around three points up. Britain won the second half scrums 18-7. But, crucially reduced their penalty deficit to 3-4.
Albert Laing gave New Zealand the lead with an angled penalty from the “25”. But Britain edged in front after Martin Hodgson gathered a loose ball. He fed Alf Ellaby, who went past Laing for a try at the corner. Laing kicked his side back into the lead. With a second penalty, when the Lions were off-side at a scrum. The seesaw continued when Bryn Evans and Stan Brogden engineered an opening for Arthur Atkinson. He cut inside to the posts for a try. New Zealand grabbed the lead back from a clever move by Jonas Masters and Hee Brisbane. This culminated in Bert Cooke dummying his way to score at the posts. Laing converted.
More Great Britain tries
The second half was more or less a British procession. Lou Hutt mishandled and Ellaby was nearly in as a result. The pressure was maintained. And Atkinson crossed near the flag. Sullivan goaled magnificently. Sullivan then added a penalty to make it 13-9. Len Scott’s poor relieving kick went straight to Nat Silcock,. He wasted no time in sending Jack Feetham over near in the corner. Sullivan making light work of the difficult conversion. Hutt had a pass intercepted. And the ball was rushed out to Ellaby, who side-stepped Laing and sailed 60 yards for a touchdown. The final try fell to Stan Smith. He picked up a loose ball and went round Laing. And touched down before being pushed into touch-in-goal.
Rugby League 1932 Tour. At Monica Park, Christchurch — 13 August 1932 New Zealand 14 Great Britain 25 (HT 12-10)
The Lions were far too good for the New Zealanders. They had the misfortune to have their most potent back Bert Cooke injured. This happened in the move which gave Britain a 10-5 lead midway through the first half. Cooke played out the game. But, was clearly little more than a passenger. Conditions were ideal. Apart from a biting north-easterly wind. Which favoured the home team in the first half. After 10 minutes New Zealand won a scrum close to the Lions’ goal line. And the ball was swiftly worked out to Claude List. Who crossed at the corner. Britain responded with a brilliant try from Stan Brogden. His corkscrew run baffled Steve Watene and took him under the bar. Sullivan landed the first of five conversions.
Jim Amos brought the team’s level with a good penalty goal. Before Brogden conjured up a converted try for Atkinson at the corner flag. New Zealand again leveled after Edwin Abbott created an opening. And beat two tacklers. Before Hec Brisbane put List over for his second try. Converted by Amos. Amos put his side ahead with another penalty just before half-time. And then extended their lead with his fourth goal soon after the interval.
Britain scored a glorious try
Britain regained its ascendancy. When Arthur Atkinson gave a lovely inside pass to Bryn Evans. He despatched Stan Smith for a glorious try. Equally gloriously goaled by Sullivan. New Zealand appeared to give up the ghost thereafter. On the hour Britain won a scrum. And the ball sped to Atkinson. Who used Alf Ellaby as a foil, before scoring wideout. Sullivan’s conversion hit a post. And dropped over the bar to give the Lions a 20-14 lead. The final try went to Bill Horton. After a sublime combined movement between the British backs and forwards. By the close of the game, the New Zealand pack had been shattered.
Rugby League 1932 Tour. At Carlaw Park, Auckland — 20 August 1932 New Zealand 18 Great Britain 20 (HT 8-8)
Britain completed a clean sweep of the series. But they were fully tested by a much improved New Zealand XIII. Who matched the Lions try for try. In the final analysis, Britain’s savior was Jim Sullivan. His goal-kicking prowess won the day. It was Sullivan’s 53rd and last tour game in the southern hemisphere. His second goal brought up his 500th point in Australasia. It was also his 10th and last test against New Zealand. However, it was Steve Watene who kicked the first goal of the match. It was a 25-yard penalty. And New Zealand added a try soon afterward. When Bert Cooke sliced through and got the ball out to Hec Brisbane. He touched down near the flag.
The Lions equalised after Sullivan converted a terrific 30-yard try by Barney Hudson. Cooke and Brisbane unlocked the British defence again. When Brisbane chased Cooke’s well-placed kick to gather and score. Britain drew level after Hudson had been stopped on the line. Albert Fildes scooped up the ball and dived in at the flag. Sullivan kicked an easy penalty soon after half-time. And then dropped a fine goal after Brisbane had kicked the ball straight to him in trying to clear his line. However, it was a fielding mistake by Sullivan. Which Cooke exploited to give New Zealand the lead. Watene converted. Within a minute New Zealand was 18-1 up.
Kiwi Watene makes telling break
Watene dashed down the touchline. And, when challenged by Sullivan. In addition, he gave an inside scoring pass to Abbott. Watene converted. Britain camped on New Zealand’s line. And Jack Feetham finally got Stan Smith over for a converted try. In a frenzy of excitement, the Lions pulled the game out of the fire. When Arthur Atkinson crashed through to put Hudson over at the corner. Also, Sullivan’s conversion failed. But New Zealand had no chance to hit back. Finally, the referee blew for time.