In the latest edition of our series, we look back at this week in history and pick out a key moment from rugby’s archives.
For this edition we’re going back to 1934, the year the Wallabies first won the Bledisloe Cup, playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
AUGUST 25, 1934
Defeating New Zealand is one thing – in fact Australia did it in the first ever officially recorded Bledisloe Cup match back in 1932 – but winning a series against them in the present feels as hard as ever.
That makes Australia’s first-ever reign as the Bledisloe Cup holders over the All Blacks all the more special, and it happened a lot earlier than perhaps many people realise.
Matches between the two Southern Hemisphere giants began long before that. Prior to World War I, Australia won just two of the 14 games. After the war, no official Test matches followed until 1929.
Which brings us to 1934. In the first Test, the Wallabies were comfortable winners.
Outscoring the All Blacks by four tries to three – when tries were worth three points, and drop goals four – the rest of their points came from the boot of full-back and Australian captain Alex Ross, who was inducted into Sport Australia Hall of Fame back in 1990.
Buoyed by that success, Australia were halfway to winning the Bledisloe Cup for the first time, but up against enormous history when you factor in just how many times they had been defeated New Zealand since that first Test 30 years before.
Between the end of World War I and 1934, either New Zealand or a New Zealand XV had triumphed on 22 occasions.
Returning to the Sydney Cricket Ground on August 25 for the second of the two Tests, in front of 30,000 supporters, both teams fought out a 3-3 draw.
A try from Australia number eight Bob Loudon [pictured below in 1934] was matched a by score from New Zealand prop John Hore, who had also scored in the first Test the previous week.
As a result the series finished 1-0 to Australia, handing them the cup for the first time. They wouldn’t lift the trophy again on home soil in Sydney until 1979, with just one series win coming inbetween in 1949.
Photo of Bob Loudon courtesy of the National Library of Australia