By Andrew Dunford
Wellington, 24 September 2020
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) today confirmed its intention to retrospectively cut short the All Blacks’ 1972/73 tour of the British Isles, France and North America. The tour will henceforth be known as “the 1972 tour”.
The record of the 1972/73 tour will be amended to show the final fixture played was the 20-6 victory over Southern Counties at Oxford on 20 December 1972, with the remaining 14 matches up until 10 February 1973 expunged from the record books.
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said “We’re all about whānau and it’s important in 2020 for us to recognise that the players on that tour were able to return to New Zealand in time to spend Christmas 1972 with their loved ones. Christmas in the UK is a grim affair at the best of times. Family life is so dysfunctional that everyone goes to the pub before lunch on Christmas Day, and the sun – if it ever rises at all – goes down just in time for the Queen’s Speech at 3pm”.
This decision will not be universally popular in the rugby world and has ramifications for some significant events previously believed to have taken place. Ireland’s valiant 10-10 draw at Lansdowne Road on 20 January 1973 – the first time they had avoided defeat against the All Blacks – no longer exists, and neither does France’s victory in Paris on 10 February. Welsh fans will be bitterly disappointed to learn the try labelled the ‘Greatest of All Time’ scored by Gareth Edwards for the Barbarians at Cardiff Arms Park was nothing more than a figment of their imagination.
On the plus side, that awful video of the All Blacks pretending to do the haka can now be removed from YouTube and hopefully will never again see the light of day.
Sadly for Keith Murdoch’s reputation, the incident at the Angel hotel in Cardiff took place on 2 December 1972 and will remain on the record. The late Keith Murdoch was approached for comment but chose to maintain his 48-year silence.
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