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News > Member Stories > 1969 Revisited...

1969 Revisited...

We are very appreciative to Professor Jeremy Young, formerly of St Peter's College, for this additional information regarding the controversial 1969 clash between OURFC and the Springboks.
13 Jun 2023
Member Stories
Springbok trophy at Vincent's Club
Springbok trophy at Vincent's Club

“I did not play on that day, but I travelled with the team. To be honest, I was, in some ways glad not to play for Oxford that day, as I was always on the light side for a back row forward, not measuring up to Pete Dixon or Pete Torry, who was a flat mate of mine, and dwarfed by a massive Springbok back row!

The game was actually played at Twickenham, being switched from Iffley Road at the last minute, as it was feared that Iffley Road would be an easy target for the anti- apartheid demonstrators. We were informed of the change early that morning, and bussed down to Twickenham for the match. The game was a bit of a grind and we won an all-penalties game, 6-3.  After the game, several of the Springboks were rather sullen towards us at the post-game tea, and it was only after Dawie DeVilliers read them the riot act, that they would grudgingly talks to us in English, having been speaking Afrikaans amongst themselves up till then.

Although I suppose they were upset at losing their opening match to a bunch of college kids, this was somewhat irritating, as we had gone to a lot of trouble to play the game at all. In fact, we had a pretty strong team, with a current All Black (Chris Laidlaw), as well us future internationals and British Lions (Pete Torry, Pete Dixon) and a bevy of strong club players, like Doug Boyle and Jerry Cook at centre, as well as a very underrated pack.

I think the Boks underestimated our squad, and paid the price.”

Many thanks too to Anthony O'Sullivan for tracking down this film footage, which highlights the drama of the day - SPRINGBOKSvsOXFORD

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