It might be 56 years ago but it seemed like yesterday to
members of the previous Otago team to win the Ranfurly
Some of the members of that 1957 side reacquainted themselves
with the treasured Log o' Wood yesterday, walking down memory
lane to recall what happened after they won the shield from
''Bill Hogg, who was a big supporter of Otago rugby and owned
the New Club Hotel here in Dunedin, rung up the Midland Hotel
in Wellington, where we were staying, and shouted us a crate
of Champagne,'' Jim Darling (78), the Otago fullback, said.
''The Otago rugby union got embarrassed by that, so they
shouted us a crate, too. And we had never drunk wine before.
We just thought it was like beer, drinking it out of 7oz
glasses. That soon caught up with us.''
Ian Stevens (83), who played hooker, said the side was not
overconfident going into the match.
''The team that won last Friday night were underdogs but I
tell you, we were really underdogs. We were given no show by
anyone,'' Stevens said.
Tuppy Diack (83), the winger and future All Black, remembered
the game well.
''Our manager, Harry Harley, was a staunch Presbyterian, and
he said if we won, he would go to church on Sunday with all
the `Doolans'. And he did.
''But the reason we won that game was Charlie Saxton, our
coach. I said to [wife] Margaret: 'Do not worry; we will
bring it home'.''
The 1957 squad was on a tour of the North Island when it won
the shield and did not get back to Dunedin for nearly a
There was a street parade, which Grant Moody (83), an inside
back, said was great, but the side had to first defend the
shield against South Canterbury (won 6-3) and then play
Taranaki in a hastily arranged game.
''We should have never played them. We had played 13 games in
seven weeks. But we did and we lost,'' Darling said.
None of the group thought that loss to Taranaki (9-11) in
1957 would be the start of a long drought for the province, a
drought which ended last Friday night as Otago beat
shield-holder Waikato 26-19.
''That was magnificent,'' Darling said.