40 year on Northern Division to celebrate win over All Blacks

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The composite Northern side had plenty to play for as word leaked out before the game that the England selectors had already named their side to play the All Blacks and many Northern Division players had not been included.

 

The Times recounted that North's coach Des Seabrook told his players the England selectors would be hoping the All Blacks won to save themselves any embarrassment.

 

"I said: 'Look lads, the England team is already picked for next week, you've every motive now to go out there and stick it to them," he said.

 

The North side scored four tries to one and then watched an All Blacks team, with 11 members from the defeated side of a week earlier, beat England by a point in the Test match.

 

The North side was strong, and experienced. Five former England captains were included and many had played for the British & Irish Lions.

 

They also played with a chip on their shoulder that England sides tended to be selected around University players or from the more fancied clubs like Leicester, Harlequins and Wasps.

 

Captain of the North team that scored the famous win was Bill Beaumont (pictured), now chairman of World Rugby.

 

He recalled the game was played in cold conditions with a gale blowing.

 

"We were pretty confident before the game. We had only lost against them by three points the year before and this time we had an even stronger team – and we were obdurate and stubborn," he said.

 

The team had put in two months preparation for the game, meeting once a week to work on their drills.

 

New Zealand went into the game having beaten Scotland with four tries to nil and fielding captain Graham Mourie, lock Andy Haden and new No 8 Murray Mexted were regarded as a strong side.

 

Northern Division scored the only try of the first half and loose forward Roger Uttley said they knew they had the game won then.

 

They scored three more tries in the second half, to one scored by All Blacks wing Stu Wilson.

 

The next day, the England selectors announced their side with only one change from that which had been leaked.

 

Halfback Steve Smith said: "Some of the omissions were ludicrous – even an all-time great like Roger Uttley wasn't in the team."

 

England had a new coach, Mike Davis and Beaumont said he believed the loss to the All Blacks resulted in him choosing the core of the Norths team as the backbone of his side that completed a Five Nations Grand Slam later in the season.

 

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