The New Zealand Rugby Football Union and the 1981 Springbok Tour : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts at Massey University

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Massey University
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No abstract. The following is taken from the introduction: In April 1980 the New Zealand Rugby Football Union invited the South African "Springbok" rugby team to tour New Zealand in 1981. This tour of New Zealand resulted in arguably the fiercest protest action that the country has seen in this century. Despite substantial pressure, both national and international, the NZRFU refused to withdraw its invitation. Graham Mourie, the incumbent captain of the All Blacks, refused to play against the South Africans citing, among other reasons, that bad publicity would damage the game rather than benefit it. 1 Stephen J. Tew, New Zealand and South African Rugby Exchanges 1960-1981: A Study of a Sporting Relationship with Far Reaching Consequences, Wellington: Victoria University, 1982, p.145. Historians who have written on the tour have made points similar to those of Mourie. Jock Phillips wrote that the greatest threat to the game of rugby in New Zealand came from its association with South Africa. 2 Jock, Phillips, A Man's Country? The Image of the Pakeha Male - A History, Auckland: Penguin Books, 1987, p.270. Graeme Barrow also condemned the Rugby Union's decision to proceed with the tour claiming that: ... it was apparent to many, including a good proportion of rugby people, that the Springboks did not yet deserve a tour. Some advances had been made toward integration in the sport - although not nearly as much as had been made in other South African sports - but South African rugby had not reached the stage at which it would be regarded as normal by the rest of the world.
Springbok Tour 1981, New Zealand Rugby Football Union, South Africa, Politics and sport