Club Captain : J H ‘Jack’ John
Playing Record : P37, W16, D4, L17, Pts for 330, Pts against 337.
Leading Try Scorer : Not Known
Leading Points Scorer : Dr Bertram 51
Capped v New Zealand : Rowe Harding, Dai Parker
Capped v England : Dai Parker
Capped v Scotland : Dai Parker
Capped v France : Rowe Harding, Eddie Beynon (d), Dai Parker
Capped v Ireland : Rowe Harding, Eddie Beynon, Dai Parker
(d) = International debut, (c) = captain of international side.
Swansea RFC 1st XV 1924-25 Season
Back Row L to R: Bert Palmer, E C Perkins(Sec.), A Parker, E Beynon, J Howells, T Mabbett, B Jones, D Parker, F Rees, R Dowdle.
2nd Row L to R: Dr. Bertram, R Davies, D Burns, J H John (Capt.), E A H Jones, J E Watkins, S Phillips, B Barter.
Front Row L to R: T Hopkins, W R Smith.
The Thistle Beats The Leek – Wales 14 Scotland 24 at Swansea -7 Feb 1925 (Courtesy Pathe News) CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW TO WATCH MOVIE
This was the 1st season for Swansea to concede more points than they actually scored. Up until this season, the club had never conceded more than 250 points in a season and for most seasons up until World War 1 conceded less than 100 – a proud defensive record. New captain J H (Howell) John had progressed from the Loughor club to Swansea, was a collier and later a policeman. He was to be capped 8 times as a forward (hooker) from 1926 to 1927. his time as captain of the “All Whites” being an impetus to his game improving and earning his international selection. In fact the Swansea team only became truly “ALL White” in this season, for the first time. Dark, usually blue or black shorts had always been worn with the plain white jersey. But the new year was ushered in with a game against Leicester where the Swansea team wore an all white kit for the first time. So it was to remain until the advent of advertisements on kit many years later. New players this season included D Jenkins, Elvet Rees and Dr Bertram, the latter a Scottish international, formerly of Watsonians and currently working at Teddy Morgan’s Sketty practice.
On 27th September 1924 the second All Blacks came to the St Helens ground to play Swansea. Expectation was high. The first All Blacks had narrowly won on the same ground in 1905 by 4 points to 3 with Swansea scoring the only try of the game. But this time round things were to be differeent. The “All whites” did not have the superb team of former years. As The Times pointed out in it’s match report, the All Blacks “….. had no Owen or Trew or Willie Arnold or Joseph or Fred Scrine to meet on this famous occasion.” Nevertheless, a crowd of 35,000 had gathered at St Helens (some reports have the figure as high as 45,000) to encourage their team. It was an exceptionally mild autumn day and the pitch was in perfect condition. This only played into the hands of the tourists however, as once they gained dominance up front, a flurry of tries from the backs resulted, Porter and half back and Brown at three-quarter excelling as did George Nepia with several excellent kicks to touch from full back. For Swansea, the backs seemed hesitant and squandered the few chances that came their way. In the pack, only Dai Parker and the Scottish international Dr Bertram shone, Dai Parker getting the only score for Swansea. He kicked three points from near the half way line after Nepia was penalised for not playing the ball. Unfortunately for the home team, a deluge of scores followed to give the All Blacks a 39 – 3 win h/t: 10 – 3 to NZ). In retrospect of course, they were to end the tour, which took them to Australia, Great Britain, France and Canada, as “Invincibles”. They became more deadly as the tour progressed and Scotland actually refused to play them, thus avoiding a humiliating defeat. The teams that day were:
Swansea – P Lloyd, J E Watkins, T Evans, M Evans, D Jenkins, Elvet Rees, R Smitham, J H John (captain), Dr Bertram, G White, Ivor Morris, Dai Parker, L Thomas, H Rees, Ivor Thomas.
New Zealand – G Nepia, F W Lucas, J Steel, H W Brown, A E Cooke, M F Nicholls, W C Dalley, W R Irvine, Q Donald, C J Brownlie, I H Harvey, M J Brownlie, A H West, A White, C G Porter (captain).
Swansea – Dai Parker 1 Pen
New Zealand – Tries: H W Brown (2), M J Brownlie, A E Cooke, W R Irvine, F W Lucas, J Steele (3); Conv: M F Nicholls (4); drop goals: M F Nicholls.
1905 AVENGED 2nd All Blacks beat Wales 19 – 0 at Swansea 29 Nov 1924
(Courtesy – Pathe News) CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW TO WATCH MOVIE
Following the earlier victory over Swansea at the St Helens ground (27th sept 1924), the second All Blacks secured a comprehensive victory over Wales on the same ground on 29th November 1924. This was New Zealand’s “Invincible” tour and the previous defeat to Wales on the “Originals” tour of 1905 was avenged in a one sided match where the All Blacks scored 4 tries, 2 coversions and a penalty on the way to a 19 – 0 win where the great George Nepia at full back, had a superb game. Dai Parker and Rowe Harding represented Swansea in the Welsh team. In this film clip you can also see a balcony full of supporters collapsing as the 50,000 crowd seek every vantage point.
As the All Blacks completed their tour of Britain, they praised Swansea’s Dai Parker, saying he was the best forward they had played against on the tour, some consolation at least and a recognition of that player’s increasing stature which had already seen him capped and later embark on a Lions tour.
(Above) The “Invincible” All Blacks of 1924-25, emphatic winners of two matches at the Swansea ground. (Courtesy: Ellis Rugby).
(Above left) A Christmas card specially designed for the All Blacks 1924-25 tour, to be sent home by players on the extended tour. (Above right) A souvenir from the post match banquet – New Zealand v France. The match against France was one of the last three games on the tour. It was played at Toulouse on 18th January 1925 and New Zealand were 30 – 6 winners (both items Courtesy: Ellis Rugby).
The Swansea team were to lose the next five consecutive matches following their defeat by New Zealand in September. A notable win against Leicester stopped the slide but, with the winter being an exceptionally wet one, running rugby was somewhat absent from St Helens and the team seemed to do better away from home despite the traditionally fine surface of the home ground. Eventaully, in January a match had to be postponed due to flooding at the ground, the first time such an event was reported in the papers.
Despite a late rally, swansea had lost 17 matches and won just 16 in the season. Consistancy was proving difficult to achieve. But on the international scene, Dai Parker had established himself in the Welsh side, playing against England, Scotland, Ireland and France as well as New Zealand. Rowe Harding had joined him against New Zealand and Ireland and Eddie Beynon had made his international debut against France and hold his place against Ireland.