There has always both a special camaraderie and rivalry between All-Blacks and Springboks, as witness my neighbour Loré Mathews‘ tales of the SA and NZ troops who met and scrummed down in the streets of Alexandria, Egypt, during the Second World War.
Rugby aficionados will know what you are talking about when you mention the Cavaliers. Especially those in South Africa and New Zealand. Also known as “The Rebel Tour.” In 1986 a Kiwi team toured South Africa, against the wishes of the International Rugby Football Board. Due to the Republic’s Apartheid policies, national teams were banned from playing against South Africa in all main-stream sports. The All Black Tour of SA in 1985 had been cancelled, but twenty eight of the thirty players selected for that tour formed the Cavaliers.
Any sports-persons brave enough or foolish enough to ignore the ban were generously compensated, which brought into question rugby’s then current amateur status. This was ultimately to bring the financial aspect of sport in general under the spotlight.
My Kiwi friend, Kevin Barry O’Connell, circa London 1969, followed the tour, and tacked on an extra week to look me up in Warmbaths. What a pleasure to hear the tales of his adventures of the intervening sixteen years! Copious amounts of beer were consumed, interspersed with reams of reminiscing. However, I decided that his memory was pretty dickey, as I often had a different recollection of events.
No sweat; easily sorted! I had kept a diary, back in ’69, so was able to haul it out and prove to my old mate that –
My memory was a lot worse that his!
My own diary proved that his recollections were much more accurate than mine. I can now easily see why crime-scene witnesses accounts differ so widely. I have never forgotten this lesson, especially entering the age where one hauls out memories more regularly. It is therefore fair to pepper my stories with “as I remember it” and “as I recall“!