Thorny Encounters

Thorny Encounters

A History of England v The All Blacks

Matt Elliott


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In 1905, Vic Cartwright's England rugby team lined up against Dave Gallaher's touring All Blacks at Crystal Palace—the first ever meeting of two national teams. Ensuing matches, in both the amateur and professional eras, have been dramatic and controversial, steeped in the historical rivalry of the traditional home of the game for the nation that has claimed rugby as its own. Men in white (such as Wakefield, Beaumont, Carling, Leonard, and Johnson) versus men in black (Meads, Lochore, Fitzpatrick, Lomu, McCaw). Hakas drowned out by rousing renditions of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." Grinding forward tussles on cold, murky afternoons and sweeping back-line movements on sun-lit grounds. Thorny Encounters chronicles the first 40 rugby internationals between England and New Zealand, spanning 1905 to 2014. Historic encounters between men in white and black have been dramatic, controversial, and steeped in historical rivalry. The match in which giants of the sport have measured themselves against each other. The clash of the hemispheres.


Matt Elliott:
Matt Elliott is the award-winning author of Kieran Read: Tribute to a Great Eight; War Blacks, on the WWI All Blacks, and Dave Gallaher: The Original All Black Captain.