The last test

The first game I can remember watching at Carisbrrok was a match between Otago and the Lions.

It would have been 1975ish, in the days when touring teams toured the provinces.

I can’t remember the score though I suspect we lost. It wasn’t the only Otago loss I’ve watched but I also saw some wins, most notably the day the team captained by Taine Randall won the NPC final.

We used to go down to Dunedin regularly for NPC games and in the early days of the Super 12 but in recent years we’ve had other priorities.

But we went down again for Carisbrook’s 37th and final rugby test match last night.

The city was buzzing and turned on a glroious day – blue sky, sunshine and almost no wind. The mild temperature would have been welcomed by the teams playing nude rugby in the afternoon.

As part of the pre-test entertainment, Colin Meads and Otago’s favourite sons Josh Kronfeld and Jeff Wilson told us there favourite memories of the ground.

Deborah Wai Kapohe and Judd Arthur sang the national anthems – powerfully.

Wales scored first and second, then the All Blacks found their feet.

After the final whistle, with the score at 42 -9, the City of Dunedin Pipe Band marched on to the ground to play Auld Lang Syne, Jeff Wilson dug out a piece of turf to be taken to the new Forsyth Barr Stadium and the celebration finished with a fireworks display.

The ODT editorialises in tribute to Carisbrook here.

Jim Mora chatted to Ian Galloway and Ron Polenski about Carisbrook here.

UPDATE: Keeping Stock pays tribute too.

3 Responses to The last test

  1. Gravedodger says:

    It was a night for memories and a lot more so for those of you with a stronger geographical connection. It was also for those of us whose main connection was as invaders to the fortress, that became for a time “The House Of Pain”, from north of the Waitaki.
    With the demise of University rugby being the powerful attraction for the talent to augment the very strong local rugby culture, as was Lincoln College and Canterbury University, for our Red and Blacks, now in the professional era most of the young talent is diverted into rugby academies and players are managed to clubs that will maximise their talent development.
    Mark Irwin, Chris Laidlaw and Earle Kirton come to mind as uni players to develop in Otago under coaches such as Charlie Sexton, Vic Cavanagh and in recent times Laurie Mains and Gordon Hunter.
    In my years as a visitor to the “Brook” as a Red & Black supporter or as a Co Supporter of the “A Bs” one thing stands above all else, the Otago people were always wonderful hosts with a good knowledge of rugby and win or lose sportsmanship was to the fore. Alas during my exile to the off shore island to the north, the same could mot be said for trips to the exposure capital aka Athletic Park or more recently “the Cake Tin” where tribalism is much more evident.


  2. Rod says:


    A mate and I travelled down from Auckland for the match. Superb weekend, Dunedin partied well and the weather gods really played their part. New stadium looks very impressive too – a NZ first! As an aside , the Lions played Otago twice in the 70s – 71 & 77.


  3. homepaddock says:

    Thanks for the date correction, Rod – my 1975ish must have been ’77.


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