FLASHBACK: October 1970

France caused the upset of the 1970 World Cup tournament in the UK when they defeated Australia 17-15 at Odsal Stadium, Bradford.

Australia scored the first try, after just 19 seconds, with Bob Fulton racing 45 metres to plant the ball between the posts, after great lead-up work by forwards, Barry McTaggart and Paul Sait.

But from there it was the French who dominated, with winger, Serge Marsolan scoring their first try, followed by a clever kick-and-chase effort by dual international, Jean Capdouze.

France led 12-9 at halftime, but Australia made it 12-12 soon after the break with Father John Cootes scoring out wide after rugged forward, Gary Sullivan made a bust.

Marsolan scored again and Capdouze kicked a 35 metre field goal for France to lead 17-12. Cootes scored again for Australia, but it was all too late.

The win was not as surprising as it might seem in this day and age, given France had won two Tests and drawn one against the touring Kangaroos early in 1968, and then qualified for the World Cup final in Australia later in the year after beating New Zealand and Great Britain.

Australia only qualified for the 1970 final because of a superior for-and-against record compared with France and New Zealand.

The Kangaroos beat the previously undefeated British 12-7 in the final, a particularly violent affair.

While on tour Australian fullback, Eric Simms learned he would not have to do National Service on his return to Sydney.

The Labor and National Service Department notified Souths’ star, Simms that he had been ruled unfit because of a hearing defect.

“I thought that if anything would make me fail, it would be my poor eyesight,” said Simms, who was noted for being safe under the high ball, as well as being one of the code’s great goal kickers.

Jean-Pierre Clar

One response to “FLASHBACK: October 1970

  1. I would love to get in contact with Fr John Cootes on a more personal matter. I have just obtained a recording he did of a song “Less of Me” but I would love to be able to write to him if someone could pass on my emaill address to him or a member of his family. Thanks in advance.

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