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Western Cape Branch Year End Function

The annual Year-end Cocktail function of the Western Cape Branch was held recently on a perfect summer’s evening at the Granger Bay Hotel School in Cape Town, and was attended by 75 members and guests.

Local committee member Ken Newton, welcomed all those attending, making special mention of Professor Billy Boshoff, National President, and John Sheath, Chief Executive Officer of the Concrete Society, respectively.

View (s)  Ken Newton (s)
Stunning view from Granger Bay Hotel School  Ken Newton welcomes guests to the function

He then introduced the guest speaker for the event, Cape Town born, Michael Charton, who some refer to as Cape Town’s David Rattray. Passionate about rugby and all things South African, his talk was about the Springbok’s legendary tour to New Zealand in 1937.6

It explored the heritage behind the fiery rivalry between the Springboks and the All Blacks; and introduced the audience to the wonderful characters and narrative of a 5-month tour which remains arguably the greatest ever Springbok achievement.

Michael Charton

The 1937 South Africa tour to Australasia was one of the most successful Springbok tours in history, so much so that the touring team was nicknamed the "Invincibles".

The squad was captained by Philip Nel.The tour started on 26 June 1937 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia with a 9-5 win over the Wallabies.

The Springboks followed up the win with an emphatic 26-17 win on 17 July at the same grounds, outscoring the Wallabies 6 tries to 3 and taking the series 2-0.

When the Springboks arrived in New Zealand later that year nobody expected them to win the series, as no other South African team had ever achieved the feat, and when the New Zealand leg of the tour kicked off on 14 August with a 13-7 loss to New Zealand at Athletic Park in Wellington, it seemed business as usual.


Philip Nel and his men had other ideas however, as they came back to deal New Zealand two convincing defeats; a 13-6 win at Lancaster Park in Christchurch and a 17-6 win at Eden Park in Auckland, taking the series 2-1. The latter translates into a 27-6 (5 tries to nil) win using today's point system.   

1937 Springboks

The 1937 Springbok team remains the only Springbok team ever to have won a series in New Zealand and contained legendary players such as Danie Craven and Boy Louw.

Audience (s)

The talk was riveting and passionate and everyone was ‘glued’ to their seats for the full presentation.

In closing the formal part of the evening, Jerome Fortune, the Western Cape branch Chairman thanked the speaker for a very entertaining 90 minutes in which he (Michael Charton) had hardly taken a breath.

He also thanked PPC for the sponsor given for the evening and which had made the event possible. Finally, he thanked all those that had attended and invited them to join him for a buffet supper.

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