Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
The Team that Changed Rugby Forever
Team that Changed Rugby Forever: The 1967 All Blacks
Alex McKay Published
by New Holland $35.00
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.
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,
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.
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.