Front and back cover of Rod Derrett’s classic 1965 record, Rugby, racing and beer.
In the 1960s the ‘three Rs’ of ‘rugby, racing and beeR’ dominated New Zealand society. Rugby was an especially powerful sporting and cultural force, largely unchallenged on and off the field. The Ranfurly Shield was the ultimate symbol of provincial supremacy. The decade saw provinces such as Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki dominate possession of the Log of Wood. Large crowds flocked to provincial games throughout the country.
This was also a golden age for All Black rugby. They lost only four tests out of 40 in the 1960s and suffered only one series defeat, to South Africa in 1960. This was the era of full-scale, epic tours both here and overseas. The 1963–64 All Blacks’ tour of the British Isles, France and Canada involved 36 matches in four months. In an amateur age, tours like this placed a significant financial strain on those selected. Men like Meads, Whineray, Tremain, Lochore, Gray and Nathan achieved legendary status.