My post today is dedicated to Phil Atkinson, a true Rugby Memorabilia fan !
Yes Phil ! now that you've told me how to say "Happy New Year" in Welsh... let's share it with the whole world (at least...) !
Though I am still not sure how to pronounce it... let's go to Wales today...
This postcard pictures A.J.Gould from Newport and Wales, one the most prominent rugby player from the end of the XIXth century... 27 caps between 1885 and 1897, incl. 18 times as Captain ! (impressive stats from a time when national teams usually played three times a year...)
Wes Clark's website gives a few words about his impact on the game of rugby :
"In the first international match between England and Scotland, played only a couple of months after the founding of the Rugby Football Union, there were three half-backs, one threequarter and three full-backs. Over several years changes were frequent and almost every kind of combination was tried. The three full-backs were reduced to two and then one of -these was moved up into the three-quarter line. Apparently this change was not thought to be particularly successful, until to that genius, A. J. Gould, and his Welsh friends came the modern idea of four threequarters. It seems obvious to us now, but in the nineties it was a brand new idea. Gould had played for a London club before returning to his native Wales and there he initiated, experimented with and improved the quadruple line in attack and defence. As surely as Julius Caesar forged the Roman legion, A. J. Gould, handsome, swift, elusive, forged that quadruple line. it was said that he based his strategy on securing a complete understanding on two points: each threequarter should know, with split-second timing, the exact instant when the ball should be passed and the precise position of the man to whom the pass was going."
It's actually the third time in two years (yes, two years of blogging already...) that I am posting this postcard... but the first time as a trade card for a Belgian chocolate brand... isn't that international recognition ?
Postcards are fine, but real pictures are even better ! Here are A.J.Gould and his teammates in March 1895 (Wales b.Ireland : 5 - 3) (a great newspaper print from The Sketch ; it comes with another print of the Irish team that I will post later for L.M. Magee fans and family !)