Alas, New Zealand All Blacks Lost 38-21 To England in Twickenham yesterday, Sunday 2nd December, 2012.
Was the All Black team poisoned again? It has happened before. The team has been ill the past few days with a virus or bacterial infection, which obviously affected their game. They seemed depleted and did not show the usual spark and drive which we expect from them. Theirs was an ennervated performance.
However, the English team played extraordinarily well. They may have won even if the Kiwi team had not been ill. Owen Farrell, born 24th September, 1991, is a force to be reckoned with, all by himself!
On the eve of the game, I commented on the sickness which had struck down the team prior to the last main game. Was this a random tummy bug, or Foul Play? This is what I wrote:
Well, it has happened again. Mysteriously, our NZ rugby team has come down with a virus just before the New Zealand All Black rugby team is to play England at Twickenham for the final of the year. But, unlike the matches of 1995 in South Africa, when the All-Blacks suffered what is thought to be ptomaine poisoning on the eve of the world cup, and earlier instances, in 1980, and way back in 1924-25, this time there may be no ‘hanky-panky’
Coach Steve Hansen played it down on the news last night, saying, as he was interviewed with his team players and media people about him: “Well, it’s going around. I think half the Brits have got it, actually. Anyone here had it? Well – if you hang around here long enough, we’ll give it to you!…A present from the colonials”, to which there were roars of laughter.
We were pleased to hear, back home in New Zealand, that the All-Blacks were recovering. We hoped that they might be back on form to take England by storm at the match on Sunday. However, this was not to be.
“You can’t win em all.””
The team began to get sick with the virus a few days ago when they were still in Wales. The 24 hour tummy bug attacked most of the team players during the course of the week, and, it was reported, that many of them were out of action, confined to the toilets, on the day before Steve Hansen and Kieran Read appeared for the media.
Read Merrilyn’s earlier post on instances of the All-Blacks being poisoned on the eve of important matches. This one, entitled: ‘All Blacks Suffered Poisoning Before Rugby World Cup’, was published a year ago, on the 11th October, 2011. This post relates a little more to the phenomena of poisoning during important international matches.
It is thought that the New Zealand rugby team were poisoned during the tour of 1924-25. The team was then called ‘The Invincibles’. This occurance of poisoning was in England, on the 9th match of the tour, when NZ were about to play the Cheshire team at Birkenhead Park. The incident, which affected several of the team very badly, made head-line news in ‘The Liverpool Post’ at the time. However, with some replacements, New Zealand went on to win this match against Cheshire, 18-5.
Ron Palenski gives a photo of ‘The Liverpool Post article in his book on rugby history, entitled “The Jersey”.
The headline reads:
“Sensational Incident Of Their Visit To Merseyside. FIFTEEN MEN SEIZED BY ILLNESS. Mysterious Ailment Suspected To Be Ptomaine Poisoning.” The paper reported that all men were affected, but that eight of the fifteen had to be substituted because they were too ill to play.
“Eight members of the famous “All-Black” team, which is due to play against Cheshire at Birkenhead Park this afternoon, are suffering from an illness believed to be ptomaine poioning”, the paper read. The All-Blacks had to leave behind the Wing forward J.H. Parker, as well as the manager Stan Dean, who had to spend two days in bed recovering before catching up with the team in Sunderland. Apparently the All-Blacks laughed off the incident, with one player telling reporters that they must have eaten too much. They put it down to either a fish meal they had all had in Birmingham, before arriving in Liverpool. Either that, or it was the tonic powder they had bought at a chemist shop, said the captain Cliff Porter.
Another Big Loss: The next big poisoning scare caused the All Blacks to lose the game of 1980 in Australia in 1980. They became ill on the eve of the deciding third test match between New Zealand and Australia. Several of the players were so ill that they had to leave during the course of the game, with replacements being brought on.
Another Big Loss: The New Zealand All-Blacks also famously became sick in South Africa in 1995. This was on the eve of another important international match, the Rugby Cup Final which was held in Johannesburg. They had all eaten heartily together, at the same hotel, just two nights before the Rugby Cup Final. They all played, but their fitness levels were very low, and they lost the World Cup that year, just as they lost the test with Australia in 1980 after a similar attack of poisoning.
All-Blacks Stu Wilson and Bernie Fraser were convinced that the poisoning was deliberate, motivated by a betting plot. Their book called ‘Ebony and Ivory’ discusses the ins and outs of the mystery.