17 August 2011
The story of New Zealand's wartime rugby playing heroes is the focus of an exciting new exhibition at the National Army Museum.
An image from the Khaki and Back display, courtesy National Army Museum (20110810_WN_V1008661_0010).
Khaki & Black - New Zealand's Rugby Supremacy in Times of War opens this Saturday, and takes a close look at the history of New Zealand Army Rugby when the kiwis 'took the game overseas' and Army Rugby was World Rugby.
Rugby is a religion for many New Zealanders and our soldiers found time to play the national game when they weren't fighting at the front. From each of the world wars there emerged a great rugby team; the New Zealand Army Team who restarted international rugby playing in front of appreciative crowds, winning 'test' matches against post war teams from countries including England, South Africa, Australia, Wales and France.
To help open this important exhibition the National Army Museum has a couple of New Zealand's rugby greats, and two of only four surviving members of the famous 1945/46 'Kiwis' team - the legends Bob Scott and Stan Young.
The exhibition tells the story of their famous 'Kiwis' team - a team of battle hardened rugby players who not only played a great style of rugby, but lifted the morale of worn torn Europe and raised significant money to aid war charities. This 'Kiwis' team went on to produce 16 All Blacks.
The exhibition tells of another important part of our rugby history dating back to World War I before the troops came home, when our New Zealand Army Team played a world tour of sorts ending with a world cup competition between the British forces, South Africa, Australia and Canada in 1919, for the prized King's Cup. His Majesty King George V presented the Kings Cup for this competition following the armistice and some great rugby matches were played involving some of the game's greatest players.
At a time when no rugby was being played at home these soldiers represented our country and won this coveted cup. Eighteen of this New Zealand Army Rugby Team would go on to become All Blacks in the years following the war.
Visitors to the new exhibition will be able to see the priceless Kings Cup and learn about these great teams. The National Army Museum also has a dedicated interactive 'Skillz Zone' where visitors can test their skills and knowledge on our large virtual kicking game, scrum machine, line out activity and much more.
The exhibition opens on 20th August at 1pm.