In his early twenties, Winston ‘Blow’ Ide was determined to play for the Wallabies, but when he was dropped from the New South Wales line-up he knew his chances were slim. Moving north in 1937 to play for Queensland, Ide’s state selection propelled him onto the international rugby stage, but his playing days was soon after cut short by the arrival of the Second World War. Seeing military action in South-East Asia, the strength and determination he demonstrated on the rugby pitch would assist Ide in persevering through many hard years as a Japanese prisoner of war.
Dubbed the ‘tour of a lifetime’, it was expected to be a ten-month, 28-match tour of Great Britain for an Australian representative side. Whilst the players made the journey half way around the world, they would not get the opportunity to play a single game of rugby in the British Isles.
The match was played in front of a 6,000 strong crowd at Crusader’s Ground in Port Elizabeth.
“…the pavilion was crowded with ladies, all intent on the game…” – The Cape Times
Great Britain won by four points (two tries and a conversion) to nil in a contest refereed by Dr John Griffin, a former Wales international. One of the scorers was Randolph Aston, a centre for England and Blackheath. He racked up an impressive 30 tries throughout the tour!
A century after the first British women gained the right to vote, our women’s rugby historian, Lydia Furse, takes a look at how sport impacted the lives of many women in South Wales during the First World War.
The war took its toll on many communities across Britain and the globe. South Wales was no exception, with young men volunteering and later conscripted to fight on the Western Front. As the men marched to the trenches, the spaces they left behind in work places were filled by women, who thereby enjoyed a new economic and social freedom. It is important to note that working class women were often employed outside the home during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, but the First World War was a turning point in the sheer number of women who took to the factory floors to keep the country running, incidentally proving that they were just as capable as their menfolk. This had a wider knock on effect on the women’s rights movement, evidenced by the suffragette’s success in gaining the right to vote for some women over 30 in 1918. Continue reading
Continuing our series of biographies by David Smith, covering some of the British & Irish Lions who served with the RAF.
Bleddyn Llewellyn Williams was born in Taffs Wells on 22nd February 1923, the third of eight brothers. His first Welsh Schools cap came as a fly half in 1937 while at Rydal School in Colwyn Bay. In the last season before the war he played for Cardiff Athletic while working for The Steel Company of Wales.
With the summer holidays rapidly approaching, here is a taster of what you can see on your visit to the World Rugby Museum… Continue reading
Rugby football arrived in Japan relatively early by worldwide standards, but it was not until the turn of the twentieth century that the sport would be played by Japanese nationals. Two key individuals are credited with introducing rugby to Japanese schools and universities – Ginnosuke Tanaka and Edward Bramwell Clarke.
Clarke and Tanaka (pictured centre) with the 1901 Keio University rugby team.