Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


When Rugby Referees Dressed for the Theatre

When Rugby Referees Dressed for the Theatre

January 6, 2014

When rugby internationals were played in the northern hemisphere in the 19th century, the referee wore a suit and bowler hat and waved a white flag.

The New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North has taken possession of a rare lithograph of a famous rugby painting depicting a forward struggle between England and Scotland about 1876.

The original painting by artists, Overend and Smyth, is missing but fortunately a few early lithographs were made in the 19th century. One was discovered on a Hunterville farm and is now on loan to the New Zealand Rugby Museum.

The lithograph shows an English player in white competing for the ball surrounded by Scottish forwards, one of which appears to be ready to swing his fist.

There’s little flesh visible. All the players have jerseys, long white knickerbockers, socks and boots without studs. The impeccable referee appears to be signalling a train or dressing for the theatre rather than controlling an early rugby test.

A Scottish player, “frozen in time” by the artists, is referred to as Mr Kit, the man who later developed the kitbag, probably first used to carry his rugby gear.

Two mounted police are in the rear in front of hundreds of spectators.

Director of the New Zealand Rugby Museum, Stephen Berg, is delighted to receive the print. He says it fills a gap in the museum’s Roots of Rugby gallery and will be displayed in January for local and national visitors.

Stephen points out that, when the painting was taken to Paris, it’s believed to have caused such interest that several Parisian rugby teams were established shortly afterwards.

The lithograph, which is over a metre in width and close to a metre in height, is one of 2,500 rugby treasures on display at the Palmerston North museum.

Recent acquisitions are All Black rugby jerseys from last season, the blazer from 1953-’64 international, Ian Clarke, and a bright red Welsh jock strap.

The embossed athletic support, made for the British Gas Wales Rugby Football Club, is in mint condition and was donated by former World Cup All Black lock, Murray Pierce, who received it in 1988.

“It’s amazing what weird and strange things we receive for our collection. It’s what makes our museum unique in the world and worth visiting,” Stephen says.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news