Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Team that Changed Rugby Forever

The Team that Changed Rugby Forever: The 1967 All Blacks
By Alex McKay
Published by New Holland
$35.00 PB

On the 50th anniversary of their ground-breaking1967 northern hemisphere tour, author Alex McKay provides an engaging social history on the team considered by current coach Steve Hansen as the greatest All Black side.

With an unbeaten record, the team is remembered not only for transforming the national style of rugby from a defensive to an attacking focus, but also for the highly productive lives many of them went on to lead in and out of the game: Of the 32 players, coach and manager, four went on to captain the All Blacks, three were knighted, and four others elected to Parliament. One also became High Commissioner to Zimbabwe and others succeeded in teaching, business, and farming.

McKay shares details of what became of everyone on the team, and draws on interviews with surviving players (including the legendary Sir Colin Meads and Sir Brian Lochore) along with reports, tour books, diaries and a wide range of illustrations, to situate the side in the wider New Zealand society of the time. The result is a fascinating insight into how a group of essentially conservative men produced a dramatic change in rugby culture in a period of radical worldwide social changes in music, arts, sport and society.

About the author
Born in Wellington, Alex McKay attended Whangarei Boys High School and was a young ball-boy in Okara Park in 1967. He is probably the only rugby writer who is also a Tibetan/Himalayan historian, a former NGO worker in Bangladesh, North Sea oil rig worker and Sydney private detective. He currently lives with his artist wife in rural New South Wales, but spent an extensive period back in New Zealand researching the book and meeting the surviving players. He is presently in Auckland doing media interviews.

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