Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand will sadly be remembered most for the political turmoil off the field, culminating in a light airplane circling the pitch during the final match in Auckland. This was the Flour Bomb Test.
Political tension was at an all time high with South Africas Apartheid policies being opposed by fans and citizens of New Zealand. For many, the Springboks werent welcome, as riots and clashes with police became the norm throughout the tour.
Its been said that South Africa being in New Zealand divided families, friendships, and the Nation. Some just wanted to see good rugby and leave politics out of it, while others were protesting against Apartheid.
It sparked the biggest civil disobedience campaign in New Zealands history, as the country sadly turned on each other with violence taking place whenever the Springboks played.
The third and final test would decide the series. Off-field events overshadowed the game itself once again, but the All Blacks won 25-22 thanks to an injury time penalty by Alan Hewson.
Outside of the ground all hell broke loose though. The streets surrounding Eden Park were host to fighting, as police were pelted with rocks and missiles. Some have since said that genuine protesters were joined by opportunists who simply wanted to fight the police.
Security at the ground was tight, so the battle was taken to the sky as Marx Jones and Grant Cole hired a Cessna aeroplane, and circled the stadium for the duration of the match. They dropped flares and flour bombs in an effort to stop the game.
The match continued, and it was ironically All Black prop Gary Knight who was felled by a flour bomb. Marx Jones spent 6 months in prison following the events of that fateful day.
Note: The first clip is a match/event summary. The second is of interviews in 2006 with All Black flyhalf from the day Doug Rollerson, as well as aeroplane pilot Marx Jones.