FLASHBACK: June 1969

New Zealand beat Australia for the first time in 14 Tests, and tarnished a few reputations in the process, as Auckland’s Carlaw Park crowd went mad with delight at the shock result.
Props Bill Deacon and Oscar Danielson wreaked havoc with crashing runs up the middle, but it was a late try by exciting young winger, Phil Orchard which was the big talking point.
Orchard fielded a line drop-out 35 metres out and broke through the tackles of Ron Coote and Graeme Langlands to score in the corner.
The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon wrote that Australia was guilty of too many handling and tackling errors and looked jaded after mid-week games in Christchurch and Wellington.
Reardon said the usually impeccable Les Johns twice fumbled catches of high kicks, and under pressure, kicked out on the full once.
“New Zealand halfback, Graeme Cooksley, also had the edge on his opponent, Denis Ward, and on the day, fullback, Don Lander proved a match winner with his goal kicking, plus his clean handling, and several times he beat Johns in kicking duels,” Reardon wrote.
Queenslander, Col Weiss made his Test debut in this match, and also played in the tour finale’ against Auckland, when he was headline news.
Weiss was at the centre of an incident which saw referee, Earl Pilcher from Wellington taken to hospital with suspected spinal injuries.
Pilcher was standing close to a play-the-ball by an Auckland player, who was being marked by Weiss.
When the ball was passed, Pilcher stepped back into the path of a diving tackle by Weiss. Pilcher dropped to the ground, remained still, and was unable to move his arms or legs.
Australian winger, John Cootes, a Catholic priest, thought seriously about administering the last rites.
“I was in two minds, but when I heard him speak, I thought it would not be necessary,” Fr. Cootes said.
A visibly upset Weiss said he had no way of avoiding the collision.
“He was all loose and relaxed and he fell hard,” Weiss said. “I knew he was hurt.”
Pilcher went on to make a full recovery.
Australia, having lost prop, John Wittenberg to a fractured cheekbone, went down 15-14 to the powerful Auckland outfit.

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