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How New Zealand Claimed One of England's Sons.
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Dawn Grant has produced an article for the Pot Pourri section relating to the family of Melvill.

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The Scorer

Joined: 27 Nov 2006
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The photograph which Dawn has put at the bottom of her excellent and very interesting article shows the presentation of the King's Cup to the New Zealand Services Rugby Team at Twickenham on 19th April 1919.

The team was coming towards the end of a long tour of Great Britain and France. They had won the cup by beating the British Army at Twickenham three days before, but the cup wasn't presented until after they beat France later.

Here's a link to the Wikipedia article and a slightly edited version of what it says.

"The New Zealand Army rugby team of 1919 was a rugby union team which represented New Zealand after the end of the First World War. Although spoken of as a single team, there were several New Zealand Services teams playing in Britain at the conclusion of the War. The most notable being the touring Army XV who played a series of games throughout Great Britain and France, including an internationally recognised match against the Wales national team. With the introduction of the King's Cup; a services tournament between forces from Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, the team split itself in two. The 'A' Team taking part in the King's Cup, while the 'B' team continued touring against club and county opponents.

The tour of Great Britain and France took in 38 matches, of which the New Zealand Army won 33, drew two and lost just three games. With the tour over the Army team headed to South Africa for a further twelve matches.

The King's Cup
The King's Cup was competed by six teams. The New Zealand Army, the British Army (known during the competition as the Mother Country), Australian Imperial Forces, Canadian Expeditionary Forces, South African Forces and the RAF.

The competition, sometimes referred to as the 'Inter-Services and Dominions Rugby Championship', consisted of a small league, whereby each of the teams played each other over a period of weeks. Once the teams had played each encounter, the two sides with the most wins would face each other for the right to play for the King's Cup at Twickenham. The winner of the final was then invited to play the French Army team, again at Twickenham. The matches were played in varying locations around Britain.

The New Zealand Army 'A' team's first encounter was with the RAF played at Swansea in Wales; New Zealand won 22-3. This was followed by another victory, this time against the Canadian Force at Portsmouth in England. After beating the South African Forces team at Twickenham, New Zealand travelled to Edinburgh in Scotland to play the 'Mother Country', the British Army team. This was the closest encounter to date, with New Zealand winning 6-3. With four wins from four encounters, New Zealand had already secured their place in the final, but then lost the final match of the round against Australia at Bradford. This was the first loss of the tour for the New Zealand Army, for either the A or B team.

The final in London was between New Zealand and the 'Mother Country' team. James Ryan led his team to a 9-3 victory, earning the right to Face the French Army three days later. After the win over France, Ryan was award the King's Cup, presented by King George V. With the King's Cup Championship over, the 'A' team returned to Wales to rejoin the rest of the squad ready to face the Wales team at Swansea.
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How New Zealand Claimed One of England's Sons.
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