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Recollections from the 1950s

  • R. H. Williams 1953-54

    Anachronistic though the Baa-baa song may be ( "...for the rugby game we do not train...") I still feel that the Baa-baa concept has a definite place in the modern scene despite the advent of intense coaching, liberal expenses, leagues etc.

    Games at Northampton, Leicester and certainly the Easter tour in South Wales were regular and great occasions.

    I captained the team against Blackheath at White City in a floodlit game on the occasion of Blackheath's 75th Anniversary (I think), I believe it was the last game of rugby played there.

    Memories of the 1950's

    Probably the greatest pleasure I had with the Baa-baas was going on overseas tours. In 1957 we went to Canada and 1958 to South Africa. Both these teams had Hughie and Herbert in charge. Story in Toronto - at hotel after the game, the team were in good voice and somewhat boisterous. Hotel manager approached Hughie about their conduct. Hughie, in his articulate and yet gentlemanly manner, dispensed with the matter saying: "My man, these are Barbarians, they always behave as gentlemen." Exit hotel manager from scene.

    On our flight out to South Africa, we were diverted halfway across the Sahara due to stormy conditions, to Benghazi which was at its hottest. Having been one of the first out of the plane and on looking back up the stairs, I had the rare sight, which I'll always remember, of a dishevelled Herbert Waddell attired in his pyjama top and trilby hat emerging uncertainly followed by Malcolm Thomas of Newport resplendent and immaculate as ever in his blazer and white shirt with stiff cut-away collar. Whatever else, Baa-baas always acknowledged individuality.

  • P. H. Thompson 1955-56

    I recall the first Baa-Baas overseas tour, which was to Canada, in 1957, and some of the incidents uppermost in my mind. I was reminded about three weeks ago when I saw Rees Williams at Twickenham, of the occasion in Toronto, when he larded his face with the inevitable vaseline, as he thought, only to find that this was in fact "Wintergreen" ointment. But it was too late, and in spite of being doused headfirst into a bath, his face shone like a red beacon and he was in agony, but warm for the whole of the ensuing game.