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1999/2000 News Letter

Penguins | Monday 1st May 2000 0:00am

Editor: A.G.L. Wright

Season 1999 / 2000

Following the last Newsletter of Winter 1997/1998, the Club has had fixtures against the national teams of eight nations, not including the Sevens champions from Argentina - and the details of this season in which the Club was unbeaten can be found in our new Fixture Card 1999/2000, enclosed herewith.

By tradition, these Dinners and Grand Reunions are held at five-yearly intervals - with the next Dinner scheduled for 2004.

Some 600 members and guests attended the Dorchester, and judging from the enthusiastic letters received from all quarters this year’s occasion was the most successful Dinner in the Club’s history.

We were privileged to be entertained with speeches from a team of eminent speech-makers and all details can be found in the Fixture Card.

It is known to most of our members that the writer has had the honour and pleasure of a 52-year friendship with the Co-Founder and Father of the Club, Tony Mason. For 39 of these years, up until Tony’s retirement, we worked harmoniously together with Tony selecting and managing the Club’s tours and attending every match!

The writer spoke at the Dinner on behalf of the Committee to honour Tony in his retirement year and to make two presentations; the first, a silver salver given to Tony by the Committee (details in the Fixture Card) and secondly, a personal memento presented by A.G.L. Wright - a silver penguin, with the wording:


Presented by A.G.L. Wright to A.R. Mason
in recognition of his outstanding achievements worldwide in the advancement of Rugby Union Football
40th Anniversary PIRFC Dinner - Dorchester Hotel - 21st May 1999


This PENGUIN records the founding of the Penguin International Rugby Football Club in 1959
by Tony Mason and Alan Wright
and commemorates their 50 years of friendship

Tony has been revered, respected and loved by some five generations of British and Commonwealth rugby players. His contribution to the Club has been fundamental to its success.

Through the good offices of Derek Wyatt, a member of our Committee and Member of Parliament for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (Bedford, Bath, Oxford University & England), two Dinners have been held by the Club in honour of HSBC Investment Bank plc - who have sponsored our last four major Summer Tours. Our guests have included many directors of the Bank and, in addition, the Ambassadors and First Secretaries of Poland, the Czech Republic and Croatia.

These have been highly successful occasions and have contributed considerably to the strengthening of our friendships with the countries in which we tour.

The Club’s Committee has been strengthened by the appointment of Paul Selway-Swift, who was capped for Hong Kong and had the honour of playing against England; Derek Harris of Sidcup FC, a former National Director of the National Association of Boys Clubs; Richard Breen, member for Fiji (Chairman Baravi Exiles); Craig Brown (Waikato and Watsonians); Luis Criscuolo, member for Argentina (Coventry & Argentina); Caine Elisara, member for France & Holland (Wakefield, Stade Francais, captain Holland National Sevens); Enzo Paolini, member for Italy (past captain Roma Club); Mike Williams (Blackheath; Adviser to the Portuguese RU); Hugh Thomas, member for Wales (Cambridge Univ., Aberavon, London Welsh, Gosforth, Llanelli).

It is with sadness that we report the retirement of Roy Bish, to whom we express our thanks for the great service he has given to the Club.

We are pleased to say that John Morgan did not, after all, retire from the Club - we were able to persuade him to stay on as Hon. Auditor!

I am sure everyone would wish to join me in thanking Dennis Hearn for his sterling efforts as Treasurer in recent years. Dennis has expressed a wish to retire from this office on health grounds, but will, happily for us, remain on the Commitee - and I am pleased to announce that Julian Lamden, a Vice President of the Club and an officer of Coutts Bank, has agreed to serve in his place.

The Committee wishes to pay special tribute to Bob Weighill, for continuing to serve us so well as President: to Peter Yarranton and Derek Morgan, for their wise counsel: to Bill Calcraft, for his contribution to tour arrangements and his able management of our team in the Middlesex Charity Sevens Final: to Tony Jarman, for his successful management of two great foreign tours, and for shouldering the responsibility of Chairman of the Selection Committee: to Ian Bullerwell, for his successful team management and selection in respect of all our home fixtures in the last two years: to Roy Bish, for his great contribution to management in Brazil and Chile: to our overseas Committee Members, for all the help we have received from them: and we would like to congratulate Richard Kinsey for having captained many Penguin teams, always having led the side that won!: and finally, to Craig Brown - who is still a player with Watsonians and who has played more times for this Club than any other player - we are glad he has joined the Committee, and would thank him for his major contribution to the success of both the 1999 and 2000 Summer Tours.

In conclusion, I know that the Committee and the playing members would wish to join me in paying tribute to David Peirce B.Phyt (Aust), MCSP, SRP, MAPA.

David has for some years been the Physio to London Wasp, and at the same time has been Hon. Physio to this Club. He has served us with great distinction both in his professional capacity and as a well-loved and respected member of a large number of our touring parties. Sadly, for Wasps and ourselves, he has decided to return home to Australia.

The Committee of this Club wishes to express its very great thanks to Andrew Thornhill QC, a long-serving member of the Committee, for having arranged, and moreover personally financed, two special matters which have advanced the Club’s interests.

First, we have achieved registered charitable status, the Charity name being:
Penguin International Rugby Football Trust. Registered No. 1081047

Charitable status is a tremendous step forward for this Club and fully respects the coaching/ refereeing seminars and assistance we have given to the advancement of Rugby Union around the world for the last 41 years.

Secondly, Andrew has arranged for the Club to be incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee. This was deemed by the Committee to be in the best interests of the Club for a variety of reasons.

We are in our 20th year of playing our traditional home matches against the two Universities. These fixtures are held in high regard by the Club and we hope that despite the changes in the game we shall be able to maintain them and turn out sides which will provide the Varsities with good contests.

The match against Cambridge on 25th February 1998 was mentioned briefly in our previous Newsletter under "Stop Press:" and the result, after a very high-scoring, delightful and hard-fought game, was 63:52 in favour of the Club. On this occasion, the world’s leading Sevens player, Waisale Serevi (Leicester, Fiji) played for the Club at stand-off half; and Marika Vunibaka (Leicester, Fiji) played on the wing and scored eight fantastic tries, converted each time by Waisale. The Club also played two Dulwich schoolboys, David Flatman (Saracens), who won his first cap against South Africa, and Andrew Sheridan (Bristol) - we would like to congratulate them both on having been selected to join the England team currently touring South Africa.

On 3rd March 1999 a very good game against Cambridge was won 52:19.

Against Oxford, the match on 27th February 1998 was won in the last few minutes 36:29, and the match on 19th February 1999 - played in very wet conditions - was again won in the last few minutes 29:21. Both were evenly fought contests.

In 1998, the Club succeeded in playing the two matches against the Varsities within a period of 48 hours!

In 2000, the match against Oxford was unfortunately postponed. A good match was played against Cambridge on 1st March, which was won by the Club 67:24.

We were honoured to be invited to play Moseley on this special occasion and the match, played under floodlights, resulted in a victory for the Club by one of the slimmest margins possible - 38:36.

In addition to our matches against Oxbridge and Moseley, we were honoured for the first time with an invitation to play in the Middlesex Charity Sevens Final at Twickenham.

The Club had to overcome great difficulties in selection as the majority of the first-class clubs were in the competition and, in addition, the International Sevens Tournament was being played in Paris on the same day.

We were obliged to make four changes in our selection through injuries and unexpected events during the last three weeks prior to the Tournament.

The squad was selected by Bill Calcraft, Tournament Manager, with the assistance of Ian Bullerwell and the writer - and Tony Jarman ably acted as Tournament Manager (Admin.). The majority of our team were amateurs, under the captaincy of Waisale Serevi (Mont de Marsan & Fiji).

After very good wins over Sale, Harlequins and San Isidro, the Argentinian Sevens champions, the Club met a very strong Saracens team which included distinguished Internationals such as Penaud, the French stand-off half.

The Final was a sensational match. The Club found itself losing 0:14, 7:21, 14:28; finally drawing level 28:28 in the second half. With some three minutes to go we found ourselves behind again (28:35) - and thanks to a brilliant tackle by Waisale Serevi some five metres from the line, the Saracens were prevented from going ahead 42:28. In injury time, in the last movement of the game we scored a try starting from a defensive position, and with the last kick in full time plus injury time, the game was drawn 35:35. A "sudden death" play-off was announced, and in the first 60 seconds the Club scored a successful try through Taniela Qauqau and thus won the 73rd Middlesex Charity Sevens! It made for copy out of the "Boys Own" paper - and the final result (40:35) was the higest aggregate score ever in a Final.

Our squad had one training session on Thursday 28th May which was televised by the BBC together with the competition on Saturday and provided us with considerable publicity.

We are very proud to be the holders of the Russell Cargill Cup on the last occasion, indeed, that the Middlesex Sevens will be played in May in its current form. It was the greatest day in the Club’s history - although of course in both 1997 and 1998 we were Semi Finalists in the Hong Kong Sevens, losing on each occasion to the All Blacks! Bill Calcraft was the captain of the two sides in Hong Kong and the Committee wish to record their thanks to him for so ably managing the wonderful squad of the Middlesex Sevens.

Middlesex Charity Sevens Competition:

1st round: Penguins won (47) v Sale (0)
2nd round: Penguins won (28) v Harlequins (12)
Semi Finals: Penguins won (28) v San Isidro (7)
Final: Penguins won (40) v Saracens (35) Winners of the Russell Cargill Cup

This was a busy year for the Club, and we were very pleased to be invited by the Croatia RU to play the Croatia National XV in Makarska. The object of the match was to provide them with a hard game before they played Italy in their endeavour to win a place in the last rounds of the World Cup.

As will be seen from the Fixture Card, the Club had an exceptionally strong touring party. The organiser, Bill Calcraft. was Tour Manager, and the match was won by the Club 64:20.

In June, the major Summer Tour - sponsored by HSBC - was made to Brazil and Chile. This was a highly successful goodwill tour under the leadership of Tony Jarman, Tour Manager, and Roy Bish, Tour Manager (Playing) - with the Club winning five of their six matches.

In November, the Club made its second visit to the Singapore C.C. International Sevens - and as sometimes happens we suffered two serious injuries in our squad, after winning the first three matches, and were beaten in the Quarter Finals by the eventual winners. The Tour Manager (Playing) was Bill Calcraft and the Tour Manager (Admin.), Ian Bullerwell.

In June, through arrangements made with Bill Calcraft, we were again invited to visit Croatia by the Croatia RU.

The game against their National XV was a closer contest than the previous year and the Club won 36:10. The measure of this was the fact that each side scored 10 points each in the second half.

Additionally, as a matter of good will, the Club played a match against the NATO Army in Bosnia. The Foreign Office deemed it too dangerous for us to play a game in the Olympic Stadium in Sarajevo, as originally planned, and the match was moved to Makarska. The NATO XV had to make late changes, and the Club duly won the game.
(see Fixture Card for results)

On 18th June the Club departed on its main Summer Tour to the Czech Republic and Poland, the third tour sponsored by HSBC. This tour was very well managed by Tony Jarman, with Craig Brown acting as Playing Manager; the team being captained by Brian Cusack (Lansdowne & Ireland ‘A’). The tour party is to be congratulated on winning all three matches. The hardest game was against the Czech Republic’s National XV in Prague where we found ourselves playing against Joel Stransky, the hero of South Africa, who has a Czech grandfather. This match was played in front of the biggest crowd ever to view a rugby match in the post-War era.

With probably 15 seconds left, the Club were trailing the Czech National XV 26:28, and Peter Macauly, the only player in the touring part from a junior club, scored a successful try. After its conversion the whistle blew - the Club winning 33:28.
(see Fixture Card for full results)

Also in June we were honoured to receive an invitation from the Thai RU to play in their inaugural International Sevens Tournament in Phuket. At short notice we were able to put together a good side, including four of the team that had played in the Middlesex Sevens, captained by Cameron Pither, the Australia Sevens captain. The Tour Manager was Richard Kinsey and the administration was organised by the writer. The team played exceptionally well, conceding only one score throughout. The Final was won against Germany after defeating three other national teams.
(see Fixture Card for results)

  1. The People’s Republic of China : 29th May - 6th June

    This was a very special tour as we were the first European team to be invited by the Chinese Rugby Football Association to play their National XV. The two matches were played in Shanghai on the 1st and 4th June, and both matches were won after very good games played in the best of spirits. In the second match, the Chinese National XV led for the first 20 minutes and the Club had some difficulty in gaining the lead. Between these two fixtures the Club, in accordance with its tradition, were able to coach young Chinese players and, with the co-operation of their National coach, provide coaching to the Chinese National XV.

    This was the fourth tour to be sponsored by HSBC and we are indebted to them for all the kind help they gave to us in arranging accommodation, etc.,

    We would like to thank David Townsend for undertaking the role of official Liaison Officer whilst on tour, to both the Chinese Rugby Football Association and HSBC. David has been a member of the Penguin Committee for many years, and served in the Far East for nearly 30 years.

    Rugby in China is growing apace since the Chinese National Army adopted this game as their No. 1 compulsory sport some 5/6 years ago. The National Director of Rugby for the People’s Republic of China is George Simpkin, the renowned coach, who formerly coached Fiji and Hong Kong.

    This tour was considered a great success by all those taking part, not only in terms of playing and coaching, but also in terms of friendship and goodwill. The tour ended with a Banquet given by the sponsor of the host Union, at which speeches and presentations were made.

  2. Malaysian Tens : 9th & 10th September

    Although we know we shall have selection difficulties, we have accepted a very kind invitation to play for the fifth time in this great tournament, which is probably the strongest Tens tournament in he world.

  3. Thai Sevens : 25th & 26th November

    We have agreed, again despite selection difficulties, to defend the Sevens title which we won last year.

We were honoured to be invited to play Coventry, one of England’s greatest clubs, at Counden Road on 16th February to celebrate their 125th anniversary. The result of this match is in the Fixture Card.

We were invited to play a special Ten-a-Side match against the Harlequins on 14th May, prior to the Middlesex Club Seven-a-Sides Final. See Fixture Card for result.

Our ties with this great banking Group, with its worldwide interests, has gone from strength to strength, and we wish to acknowledge and record within this Newsletter our very grateful thanks to HSBC for their sponsorship of our last four major Summer Tours, namely:

1997: Czech Republic and Hungary
1998: Brazil and Chile
1999: Czech Republic and Poland
2000: The People’s Republic of China

HSBC Investment Bank plc sponsored our tour to the People’s Republic of China this year, and The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation in Singapore has twice assisted the Club with sponsorship, enabling us to play in the 50th and 51st Singapore C.C. Seven-a-Sides.

In this, our 41st year, we were honoured by HSBC in the holding by them of a special Dinner in Middle Temple for Penguin International RFC, in recognition of the Club’s unbeaten 1999 season and the winning of the Russell Cargill Cup (Middlesex Sevens). The Dinner was chaired by Richard Bennett, Group Legal Adviser - HSBC Holdings plc, and the guest of honour was the Ambassador for the People’s Republic of China.

HSBC Investment Bank plc will be displaying the Russell Cargill Cup alongside the Thai International Sevens Cup and the Italian International Sevens Cup - all won by the Club - in the foyer at their headquarters this summer.

I am pleased to tell you that the Club received a request from the Museum to display artefacts and information relative to our Club and its tours. Accordingly, we have been pleased and proud to donate two shirts and a cap, together with a history of the Club - and these are currently part of an exhibition at the Museum of Rugby and will remain on show until 1st October 2000.

It is to be appreciated that for the first time this Final will take place at the beginning of the season, instead of at the end - and we have accepted an invitation to defend our title on this day. Waisale Serevi, acknowledged as the world’s greatest Sevens’ player, will again captain our side - and our Tournament Manager will again be Bill Calcraft.

This is always a great occasion, and I would record that tickets can be obtained from:

Derek C. Mann
124 The Walk
Potters Bar
Tel: 01707 664 600 (W)
Fax: 01707 664 161 (W)
Email: DerekMann@btinternet.com
Website: www.mdx-sevens.com

Please come and watch!

We would like to thank Tony Jarman for the many years he has run the Ticket Bureau. Tony has now taken up his appointment as Chairman of the Selection Committee and arrangements are being made for the Ticket Bureau to be run by Derek Harris (see below).

Derek Harris has now assumed the role of Membership Secretary, and his address etc. is as follows:

D.P.C. Harris
Hon. Membership Secretary
Penguin International RFC
Potters Cottage
Church Lane
Tel: 01883 742 568
Fax: 01883 744 816

We would welcome new members to our ranks - people who would like to support this great amateur Club. Current members are entitled to propose new members and all applications for membership should be addressed to Derek.

We remain an amateur club in a professional era.

The Club, more than ever, continues to fulfil its original Corinthian ethos by assisting the game worldwide in a spirit of goodwill and camaraderie. This is coupled with a continuing keen interest in the advancement and education of young players and the provision of first-class referees from the UK on the Club’s foreign tours to both referee and give seminars. Wherever possible, we also provide coaching to the teams we play in some of the countries we visit.

Despite the marvellous help we have received from HSBC with our major Summer Tours, and assistance from various Rugby Unions, we are still desperately short of funds to support our ever-increasing additional expenses in travel, accommodation, administration, and kit.

At risk of repetition, ours is a unique Club and probably the only Club in the world without a subscription, relying instead on the generosity of its members. I am sure you are all proud of the Club’s advancement and the retention of its amateur status and original ethos - and we would be glad to receive your financial support in whatever size of cheque you can provide to help advance the Club’s interests.

Accordingly, attached hereto is a DONATIONS form - and we very much hope we might hear from you all.


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Jack Speak
Community Group
Jack Speak
Community Group