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2004/2005 News Letter

Penguins | Sunday 1st May 2005 0:00am

Editor: A.G.L. Wright

Season 2004 / 2005

This amateur Club is both proud and honoured to be sponsored by HSBC, the great banking house known universally as ‘The world’s local bank’. It is interesting to reflect that we are one of the very few sports clubs whose only objective is to foster, by coaching and playing, the development, goodwill and camaraderie of Rugby Union throughout the world.

2004 was, perhaps, the greatest year in the Club’s history of touring as we undertook no less than three major intercontinental playing and coaching tours - to Hong Kong, Mexico and Malaysia.

On each of these tours, as well as the playing fixtures a pre-arranged programme of coaching for boys, men and ladies was undertaken by the newly-established HSBC/Penguin International Coaching Academy. In addition, the Academy also sent a coaching group to Canada and Malaysia.

We have been very fortunate that a number of leading coaches in the UK have volunteered their services to the Coaching Academy, and they are listed appropriately, together with the referees who joined our tours, in the new Fixture Card.

Refereeing is a very significant part of the Academy’s programme and we have been fortunate in that leading referees have offered their services to us both to referee matches, by agreement with foreign Unions, and to provide seminars to the referees of the countries we tour.

No other rugby club in the world has carried out such a large and successful touring programme in one year - involving some 45,000 air and land miles.

The Club has historically undertaken coaching programmes throughout the world, but we are paticularly pleased to have been encouraged and assisted by our sponsors in the formation of the HSBC/Penguin International Coaching Academy which has already become an integral part of the planning of our goodwill tours, thus fulfilling the ethos of both HSBC and the Club in their policy of “Education in the Community”.

The new and enlarged Fixture Card accompanying this Newsletter will provide members with the facts and figures of this great year.

I wish to record that Tony, our beloved and so well respected Co-Founder and Life President’s ashes were scattered on the Eastern touchline at Twickenham on 21st July 2004. This ceremony was part of a special arrangement and was attended by his widow, Doris, and family, in company with David Townsend and the editor.

Ted Heath was a long-serving Vice President of this Club and, indeed, a very good friend to the Club in every way, giving us his fullest support from our very early days onwards. He was MP for Old Bexley & Sidcup, and Tony and I both played in Sidcup RFC.

Ted kindly spoke at all our Dinners, save the last one when he was recuperating from illness. His speeches were very much appreciated over this period by our members and our hundreds of guests. He was always witty and charming, and showed himself to be a true sportsman.

For the record, he was of course Prime Minister from 1970 - 1974, and Father of the House 1992 - 2001. His greatest sporting achievements were winning the Sydney-Hobart race in 1969, and captaining Britain’s Admiral’s Cup teams in 1971 and 1979.

On a personal note, he was a very good and generous friend to me and attended my parties at Twickenham for the Internationals.

Our ranks have been strengthened by Tom Wacker (CEO, IRB 1996/97) accepting the positions of Deputy Chairman and Hon. Treasurer of the Club. Julian Lamden will continue to serve as Hon. Deputy Treasurer; and we welcome on to our committee Vincent Bramhall, a distinguished lawyer, who has also accepted the appointment of Hon. Secretary/Treasurer of the Penguin International Rugby Football Trust.

The Selection Committee has been reinforced by the inclusion of the following world-renowned officials:

Ben Breeze Gwent Dragons and Wales ‘A’
Antonio da Cunha capped by Portugal on some 50 occasions
Pat Howard Australia, and Director of Rugby Leicester RFC
John McKittrick Coach to USA 7s
Paul Treu Coach to SA 7s

Finally, the committee would like to express their thanks to Dr. Fanie du Toit (SA), who served this Club for so many years, both as a player and selector, and who has now retired from the Committee.

The new Fixture Card 2004-2005 provides history, fact and figures, and details the results of playing squads, captains, and officials who accompanied the tours.

Hence, this Newsletter relies on it being read in conjunction with the new 20-page Fixture Card.


We were honoured to be invited by the Hong Kong Rugby Union to play them to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. In addition, the second fixture of this tour was against the HK Barbarians. Both matches were played in a very fine spirit at the Hong Kong RU’s HQ ground at King’s Park on an artificial playing surface provided by FieldTurf, which our players found to be absolutely first-class.

The captain of the tour was Craig de Goldie, the outstanding NZ 7's player, who also represented the Club in the year 2000 when we won the Middlesex Sevens.

Other outstanding features of this happy tour were the wonderful Reception given to us by HSBC and the memorable Dinner hosted by the Hong Kong RU.

We also wish to record our very grateful thanks once again to Cathay Pacific Airways for co-sponsoring this tour, and for the very generous assistance they gave to the Club by acting as our “carrier” and flying the entire team from various points of the globe.


This was our first tour to this great country - and the seventh nation we have visited in The Americas. A very close friendship has been established with this country and we are very pleased that the Mexican Rugby Federation have recently become members of the International Rugby Board.

The Club had an extensive fixture list, including playing two International matches against Mexico - and we were the winners of the Mexican RF’s International Ten-a-Side Tournament which took place in Mexico City.

Once again the touring party was ably captained by Dave Gorrie (Monkstown), and the Tens team was captained by James Winterbottom (Henley). We were very pleased that the squad contained so many fine young players, including Blues from our great friends, Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

HSBC gave the touring party a very warm welcome at a Reception, followed by an excellent Dinner.

Whilst in Mexico City, the Club accepted an extremely kind invitation to attend a Reception given for us by the British Ambassador.


This was our eighth visit to this lovely country where we have established strong friendships. For the seventh time we competed in the world’s No. 1 Ten-a-Side Tournament organised by COBRA (Combined Old Boys Rugby Association).

The assembled squad included a Canadian, an American, an Englishman; a Portuguese; two New Zealanders; three South Africans; and five Fijians. It was coached by John McKittrick of New Zealand and Silosi Nawavu from Fiji. The teams invited to the competition provided once again a very strong tournament. The Penguins were drawn in the hardest pool, with games to be played against New Zealand Maoris, Marist St. Josephs (from Samoa, including most of the Samoan IRB 7's series team), and local champions NS Wanderers who had Waisale Serevi as a guest player. As with last year, there were no easy games with most contests finishing with a close score line. The objective of day one was to qualify for the cup quarterfinals on day two.

The day one objective was achieved with two wins from two in the opening games. A hard fought final game was lost to eventual champions Marist St. Josephs. The team progressed to the semi-finals with a convincing win over the North Harbour Mavericks from New Zealand. The semi-final game kicked off in a torrential thunderstorm and downpour, with Ponsonby from New Zealand taking a 14-0 lead after five minutes. The game was then halted for 90 minutes due to lightning strike risks.

At the recommencement, the team exhibited great character and skill to take the lead 15-14 with three well worked tries with 16 seconds remaining (kicking was impossible due to the flooded pitch). However, Ponsonby managed to get close to the Penguins line where, to all in the stadium’s amazement, a penalty try was awarded, handing Ponsonby the game. Hence we finished semi-finalists.

The side was very ably captained by Howard Graham (Army) who had only recently captained the Army to success in the Middlesex Sevens.

Our record in this great tournament is twice winners, three times semi-finalists and twice quarter-finalists.

During the tour the party were invited to attend a Reception given by HSBC in honour of the British/Malaysian Chamber of Commerce.

The Academy really took off in 2004, led by Craig Brown, Director of the Academy, and Steve Hill, Director of Coaching (Director of Rugby, Oxford University RFC).

An extensive programme of coaching was undertaken by the Academy in Hong Kong, Mexico and Malaysia, assisted by members of the touring parties. Craig Brown also led a second successful coaching party to Canada, with the assistance of John Zimnoch, our Canadian committee member.

We wish to record our special thanks to the outstanding referees who accompanied our touring parties - George Ayoub (Australia) to Hong Kong, and Andrew Ireland (Scotland) to Mexico. They gave invaluable assistance to both countries in addition to undertaking normal refereeing duties.

Steve Hill provided first class coaching to the tour parties in Hong Kong and Mexico, and Craig Brown, in addition to his tour management responsibilities, undertook further extensive coaching direction in Malaysia as well as Canada.


The first of the annual university games was played on Wednesday 18th February in cool but dry conditions at Iffley Road. The match was a fiercely competitive contest with the score remaining close throughout. Both teams played attacking, entertaining rugby, with strong defence a feature. The scores were locked at 8-8 at half time and 13-13 with just under 10 minutes to go. Through the attacking brilliance of right wing Neil Starling, the Penguins scored two converted tries in the final five minutes, running out winners 27-13. Steve Hill, the Oxford coach, commented after the game that the annual varsity matches do not come any more combative than this match.


The final university game was played in fine conditions at Grange Road on Wednesday 3rd March. Penguins ran out winners 68-17.

During this match the Penguins put on a stunning performance, taking control from the start thanks to some great individual performances. The front row provided a solid platform and behind them, in the second row, Henry Head was outstanding. He dominated the lineouts and popped up on several occasions in the mid-field, breaking the gain line and providing good ball for the backs. The man of the match was undoubted Tim Walsh, whose astute reading of the game combined with his accurate kicking kept Cambridge on the back foot for the whole game. This match was one of the best recent performances put on by a Penguin team assembled 90 mins. prior to kick off. The whole squad, admirably led by Dave Gorrie, all contributed.

The Club would like to congratulate Ian Bullerwell (Bedford) on his management of these two home matches.

The 45th Anniversary Dinner & Grand Reunion took place once again at the Dorchester Hotel on Friday 28 May 2004. It was voted a highly successful evening, attended by over 500 members and guests, and organised on this occasion by Paul Selway-Swift and Hugh Thomas.

Further details of the Dinner are to be found in the Fixture Card, together with a list of the distinguished guests led by the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, the President of the RFU, and Stephen Green, Group Chief Executive of HSBC.

The speeches were of a high quality, and the eminent speakers are recorded in the Fixture Card.

To the complete surprise of the writer, an announcement was made during the Dinner by Derek Harris, a long-serving member of the committee, to the effect that over 200 members of the Club had contributed to the establishment of The Alan Wright Rugby Scholarship.

A special mention of the ethos of the Trust and the Trustees appears in the Fixture Card.

The Trustees will also administer The Scholarship funds and we are pleased to announce as we go to print that arrangements have been made for two players (twins) from Malaysia to attend a coaching academy this Summer here in England.

The Club would like to thank the Trustees for the very helpful grants they have provided to assist in the Club’s coaching programme.

The Trustees will welcome charitable donations or, indeed, bequests, to the charity which was founded to advance education in sport through Rugby Union football.

We wish to record our very special thanks to the great banking house of HSBC - “the world’s local bank” - who have sponsored this Club for some nine years.

HSBC is the largest bank quoted on the London Stock Exchange; the largest bank in Europe; and the second largest band in the world, operating in 79 countries and territories.

We have been proud to wear the HSBC logo on our shirts for the last nine years during the following tours and matches, and of course in our home fixtures:

1997 : Czech Republic, Hungary & Singapore
1998 : Croatia, Brazil, Chile & Singapore
1999 : Middlesex Sevens (winners), Czech Republic & Poland, Thailand
2000 : Middlesex Sevens (winners), China, Malaysia
2001 : Germany & Argentina, Thailand
2002 : Portugal, USA & Canada
2003 : Malaysia
2004 : Hong Kong, Mexico, Malaysia
2005 : Malta, Malaysia

We continue to receive tremendous help from the officers of the bank in the countries we tour, including the extension to the touring parties of excellent hospitality.

Richard Bennett, Group General Manager Legal & Compliance, HSBC Holdings plc, is Patron of the Club.

The Club membership continues to grow and we will, of course, welcome proposals from committee members and Vice Presidents as to rugby-loving gentlemen who would like to become members of this special Club and be proud to wear our tie.

The minimum donation for each member will be £50 per calendar year.

It is to be appreciated that our expenses and costs continue to rise bearing in mind our very ambitious touring and coaching programmes.

If you wish to pay by Standing Order, please complete and sign the enclosed form, and forward it to your bank, with a copy to the PIRFC Hon. Treasurer and of course a copy for your records. Alternatively, an appropriate letter for return to the Hon. Treasurer is attached hereto.


    Tickets for International matches are allocated to Rugby Union clubs not, as was the case a few years ago, on the amount of finance to be forwarded for the tickets but on the basis of the numerical strength of the membership.

    We have run an active Ticket Bureau for many years, and any member wishing to join should write direct to:

    Derek P.C. Harris
    Hon. Secretary - Int’l Ticket Bureau
    Penguin International RFC
    Potters Cottage
    Church Lane
    RH9 8BW
    Tel/Fax: 01883 742 568


    The Peasant is a Committee venue both for meetings and dining and has an excellent write up in the Michelin ‘Eating out in Pubs’ Guide. In addition, it has received tremendous accolades from both ‘Time Out’ and The Guardian, which voted it one of the best 150 gastro-pubs in Gt. Britain and Ireland.

    The owners, Vice Presidents G.A.F. (Greg) Wright and P.A.L. (Paddy) Wright wish to extend a welcome to all Penguin members who, if they lunch or dine on either the Ground Floor or in the First Floor restaurant, will receive a 10% discount for themselves and their guests, including wines and spirits.

I would like to conclude this Newsletter by extending, on behalf of the Club, our very special thanks to the members of the Committee who so generously give of their time to support our administration, and in particular our International tours.

We were greatly honoured that our President, Sir William Purves CBE, DSO, was able to join us in Hong Kong, and that, once again, Bill Calcraft, our long-serving committee member and past captain of Australia and Oxford University, was also able to join us in Hong Kong in a coaching capacity. David Townsend, our Liaison Officer with HSBC, accompanied the tours both to Hong Kong and Malaysia. Steve Hill (Director of Rugby, Oxford Univ.) provided his considerable expertise both to the Coaching Academy and to the playing squads in Hong Kong and Mexico.

We were particularly pleased that John McKittrick (Coach to USA 7's squad) was able, for the second year running, to coach our 10's squad in Malaysia, where he had the support of Sailosi Nawavu (Fiji) who has represented the Club on many occasions.

In concluding these notes, I am sure the Committee will wish to join me in thanking Craig Brown (Waikato & Watsonians), our greatly respected Director of Rugby, for his dedicated leadership, skill and administration of all our three International tours, and the Coaching Academy. Our Club is fortunate in having such an excellent international rugby committee, drawn from no less than 14 rugby-playing nations.

We recognise that the very essence of a happy club is its players, and in this respect, through the abilities of our Selection Committee, we are able to select fine young men from the UK, The Americas, Europe and the Commonwealth.

A.G.L. Wright

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Jack Speak
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Jack Speak
Community Group