1967–68 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France

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The 1967-68 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France was the twelfth Kangaroo Tour, and saw the Australian national rugby league team travel to Europe and play twenty-one matches against British and French club and representative rugby league teams, in addition to three Test matches against Great Britain and three Tests against the French. It followed the tour of 1963-64 and the next was staged in 1973.

The 1967-68 Kangaroo tour became infamously known as the "Bowler Hat Tour". Legend had it that a Kangaroos forward had walked through the West Yorkshire town of Ilkley one night wearing nothing but a bowler hat. Although Johnny Raper often jokingly claimed it was him, in 1988 on Brisbane television, Dennis Manteit claimed that he was in fact the man in the bowler hat. At the time, Kangaroo touring teams were housed in the Ilkley Moors Hotel located approximately 25 km west of Leeds in an effort to not only keep down costs but also to keep players out of trouble by being located in a small town rather than a larger city.

The squad's leadership[edit]

The team was captain-coached by Reg Gasnier making his third and ultimately final Kangaroo Tour. Gasnier broke his leg during the first test at Headingley that saw him sit out the remainder of the English leg. He returned to the field in France but in a minor game against Les Espoirs in Avignon, he suffered a further break. This would ultimately cause him to announce his retirement from playing at the age of just 28. He later told in an interview that he never regretted his decision to retire, explaining that he had been playing rugby league virtually non-stop including juniors, junior representative games, the Sydney premiership, interstate games and international tours since the early 1950s, and felt it was about time that he started devoting more time to his family.[1]

Touring squad[edit]

Player Club Position(s) Tests Games Tries Goals F/Goals Points
Tony Branson Wellington colours.svg Nowra Warriors (NSW Country) Five-eighth 5
Ron Coote South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs Lock, Second-row 5
Noel Gallagher North Sydney colours.svg Bundaberg RL (Qld) Hooker 2
Peter Gallagher (vc) Brothers Colours.svg Past Brothers (Qld) Prop 6
Reg Gasnier (ca/co) St. George colours.svg St George Dragons Centre 1
John Gleeson Brothers Colours.svg Past Brothers (Qld) Five-eighth, Halfback 3
Kevin Goldspink Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Berries Second-row 0
Johnny Greaves Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Berries Centre, Wing 5
Les Hanigan Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Centre, Wing 0
Ken Irvine North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Bears Wing 1
Les Johns Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Berries Fullback 6
Kevin Junee Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Roosters Halfback 0
Noel Kelly Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs Magpies Hooker, Prop 5
Johnny King St. George colours.svg St George Dragons Wing 6
Graeme Langlands St. George colours.svg St George Dragons Fullback, Centre 6
Ron Lynch Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels Lock, Second-row 4
Dennis Manteit Brothers Colours.svg Past Brothers (Qld) Second-row, Prop 3
John McDonald Toowoomba Clydesdales colours.svg Toowoomba Valleys (Qld) Centre, Wing 5
Brian Moore Newtown colours.svg Newtown Bluebags Centre 0
Johnny Raper (vc) St. George colours.svg St George Dragons Lock 5
Elton Rasmussen St. George colours.svg St George Dragons Prop, Second-row 6
Ron Saddler Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Roosters Wing, Centre 0
John Sattler South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs Prop 0
Billy Smith St. George colours.svg St George Dragons Halfback 5
Allan Thomson Parramatta colours.svg Lakes United (NSW Country) Second-row 1
Elwyn Walters South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs Hooker 0

Great Britain[edit]

The Ashes series against Great Britain saw an aggregate crowd of 53,353 attending the Test series. The largest attendance of the tour came during the Kangaroos 6-12 loss to Wigan in front of 22,770 fans at Central Park on 13 October.

Test Venues[edit]

The three Ashes series tests took place at the following venues.

Leeds London Swinton
Headingley White City Stadium Station Road
Capacity: 30,000 Capacity: 93,000 Capacity: 40,000
South Stand, Headingley Stadium during the second day of the England-Sri Lanka test (21st April 2014) 001.JPG Coubertin - Une campagne de vingt-et-un ans, 1909 (page 215 crop 2).jpg GB v AUS 09-11-1963 at Station Road 1.jpg






The Ashes series[edit]

First Test[edit]

The first Ashes series test was played at Headingley, Leeds. Kangaroos captain-coach Reg Gasnier suffered a broken leg which would keep him out of the rest of the English leg of the tour while lock forward Johnny Raper would play most of the game with a fractured cheek bone.[2]

Saturday 21 October
Great Britain  16 – 11  Australia
Tries:
Roger Millward
Chris Young
Goals:
Roger Millward (3)
Bill Holliday (1)
Drop Goals:
Tommy Bishop
[3] Tries:
Graeme Langlands

Goals:
Graeme Langlands (4)
Headingley, Leeds
Attendance: 22,293
Referee: Fred Lindop England
Great Britain
Australia
FB 1 Hullcolours.svg Arthur Keegan
RW 2 HKRcolours.svg Chris Young
CE 3 Wcatscolours.svg Ian Brooke
CE 4 Rochdale colours.svg Malcolm Price
LW 5 Barrowcolours.svg Bill Burgess
SO 6 HKRcolours.svg Roger Millward
SH 7 Saintscolours.svg Tommy Bishop
PR 8 HKRcolours.svg Bill Holliday (c)
HK 9 HKRcolours.svg Peter Flanagan
PR 10 Saintscolours.svg Cliff Watson
SR 11 Saintscolours.svg John Mantle
SR 12 Oldhamcolours.svg Bob Irving
LF 13 Swintoncolours.svg Dave Robinson
Substitutions:
IC 14
IC 15
Coach:
FB 1 Canterbury colours.svg Les Johns
RW 2 Toowoomba Clydesdales colours.svg John McDonald
CE 3 St. George colours.svg Graeme Langlands
CE 4 St. George colours.svg Reg Gasnier (c)
LW 5 St. George colours.svg Johnny King
FE 6 Brothers Colours.svg John Gleeson
HB 7 St. George colours.svg Billy Smith
PR 8 Brothers Colours.svg Dennis Manteit
HK 9 Western Suburbs colours.svg Noel Kelly
PR 10 Brothers Colours.svg Peter Gallagher
SR 11 Parramatta colours.svg Ron Lynch
SR 12 St. George colours.svg Elton Rasmussen
LK 13 St. George colours.svg Johnny Raper
Substitutions:
IC 14
IC 15
Coach:
Australia Reg Gasnier



Second Test[edit]

The second test at London's White City Stadium saw the Australian's tie the series at one game all with a 17-11 win in front of 17,445 fans.[4]

Friday 3 November
Great Britain  11 – 17  Australia
Tries:
Tommy Bishop


Goals:
Neil Fox (3)
Field Goals:
Tommy Bishop
[5] Tries:
Ron Coote
Johnny King
Graeme Langlands
Goals:
Graeme Langlands (4)
White City Stadium, London
Attendance: 17,445
Referee: Fred Lindop England
Great Britain
Australia
FB 1 Hullcolours.svg Arthur Keegan
RW 2 HKRcolours.svg Chris Young
CE 3 Wcatscolours.svg Ian Brooke
CE 4 Wcatscolours.svg Neil Fox
LW 5 Wigancolours.svg Bill Francis
SO 6 HKRcolours.svg Roger Millward
SH 7 Saintscolours.svg Tommy Bishop
PR 8 HKRcolours.svg Bill Holliday (c)
HK 9 HKRcolours.svg Peter Flanagan
PR 10 Saintscolours.svg Cliff Watson
SR 11 Saintscolours.svg John Mantle
SR 12 Oldhamcolours.svg Bob Irving
LF 13 HKRcolours.svg Frank Foster
Substitutions:
IC 14
IC 15
Coach:
FB 1 Canterbury colours.svg Les Johns
RW 2 Canterbury colours.svg Johnny Greaves
CE 3 St. George colours.svg Graeme Langlands
CE 4 Toowoomba Clydesdales colours.svg John McDonald
LW 5 St. George colours.svg Johnny King
FE 6 St. George colours.svg Tony Branson
HB 7 Brothers Colours.svg John Gleeson
PR 8 Western Suburbs colours.svg Noel Kelly
HK 9 North Sydney colours.svg Noel Gallagher
PR 10 Brothers Colours.svg Peter Gallagher (c)
SR 11 Parramatta colours.svg Ron Lynch
SR 12 St. George colours.svg Elton Rasmussen
LK 13 South Sydney colours.svg Ron Coote
Substitutions:
IC 14
IC 15
Coach:
Australia Reg Gasnier










Third Test[edit]

The Kangaroos retained The Ashes with a hard fought 11-3 win on a frozen ground at Station Road in Swinton. It would be the 10th and last time Station Road would host an Ashes Test and the 18th and last test match played at the ground.[6]

Saturday 9 December
Great Britain  3 – 11  Australia
Tries:
Malcolm Price


Goals:
[7] Tries:
Tony Branson
Ron Coote
Johnny King
Goals:
Graeme Langlands (1)
Station Road, Swinton
Attendance: 13,615
Referee: Fred Lindop England
Man of the Match: Johnny Raper Australian colours.svg
Great Britain
Australia
FB 1 Hullcolours.svg Arthur Keegan
RW 2 HKRcolours.svg Chris Young
CE 3 Wcatscolours.svg Ian Brooke
CE 4 Rochdale colours.svg Malcolm Price
LW 5 Fevcolours.svg Gary Jordan
SO 6 HKRcolours.svg Roger Millward
SH 7 Saintscolours.svg Tommy Bishop
PR 8 HKRcolours.svg Bill Holliday (c)
HK 9 HKRcolours.svg Peter Flanagan
PR 10 Saintscolours.svg Cliff Watson
SR 11 Oldhamcolours.svg Bob Irving
SR 12 Giantscolours.svg Bob Valentine
LF 13 Swintoncolours.svg Dave Robinson
Substitutions:
IC 14 HKRcolours.svg Alan Burwell
IC 15 Faxcolours.svg Charlie Renilson
Coach:
FB 1 Canterbury colours.svg Les Johns
LW 2 St. George colours.svg Johnny King
CE 3 Canterbury colours.svg Johnny Greaves
CE 4 St. George colours.svg Graeme Langlands
RW 5 Toowoomba Clydesdales colours.svg John McDonald
FE 6 Brothers Colours.svg John Gleeson
HB 7 St. George colours.svg Billy Smith
PR 8 Brothers Colours.svg Peter Gallagher
HK 9 Western Suburbs colours.svg Noel Kelly
PR 10 Brothers Colours.svg Dennis Manteit
SR 11 St. George colours.svg Elton Rasmussen
SR 12 South Sydney colours.svg Ron Coote
LF 13 St. George colours.svg Johnny Raper (c)
Substitutions:
IC 14 St. George colours.svg Tony Branson
IC 15
Coach:
Australia Reg Gasnier

According to stand-in Kangaroos captain and man of the match Johnny Raper, the Kangaroos had a psychological advantage in the third test after he heard Lions halves Roger Millward and Tommy Bishop say after walking around the Station Road ground pre-match that they did not want to play on the frozen ground. The Kangaroos, used to playing on hard Australian grounds, were in their element against a timid Lions outfit.

France[edit]

During the game against Les Espoirs in Avignon, Kangaroos captain coach Reg Gasnier re-broke the leg he had broken during the first Ashes Test at Headingley. Ultimately this would prove to be Gasnier's last game of top grade football and he subsequently announced his retirement from playing at the age of 28.

Date Opponent Score Ground Referee Crowd Report
17 December 1967 France 7 – 7 Stade Vélodrome, Marseille G. Jameau (FRA) 5,193
21 December 1967 Les Espoirs (Colts) 7 – 17 Parc des Sports, Avignon 1,116
24 December 1967 France 10 – 3 Stade Albert Domec, Carcassonne A. Breysse (FRA) 4,193
21 December 1967 XIII Catalan 7 – 37 Stade Jean-Laffon, Perpignan 3,000
31 December 1967 France XIII 6 – 13 Stade Municipal d'Albi, Albi 2,949
4 January 1968 South West France 0 – 15 Stade Jules Ribet, Saint-Gaudens 1,205
7 January 1968 France 16 – 13 Stade des Minimes, Toulouse G. Jameau (FRA) 5,000

First test[edit]

17 December 1967
France  7 – 7  Australia
Tries:
Georges Bonet
Goals
Andre Lacaze (2)
Tries:
Les Johns
Goals
Les Johns (1)
Graeme Langlands (1)
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Attendance: 5,193
Referee: Georges Jameau France
France Position Australia
Andre Lacaze FB Les Johns
Daniel Pellerin WG Johnny King
Guy Andrieu CE Graeme Langlands
Jean Pierre Lecompte CE Johnny Greaves
Y. Reynard WG Ken Irvine
Claude Mantoulan SO Tony Branson
Roger Garnung SH Billy Smith
Christian Sabatie PR Dennis Manteit
Yves Begou HK Noel Kelly
G. Ribot PR Peter Gallagher
Georges Ailleres (c) SR Elton Rasmussen
Adolphe Alesina SR Ron Coote
Georges Bonet LF Johnny Raper (c)
Jean-Pierre Capdouze Int. Ron Lynch
Coach Reg Gasnier

Legendary Australian winger Ken Irvine broke his leg during this game. It was to be his 33rd and final test appearance for the Kangaroos.

Second Test[edit]

24 December 1967
France  10 – 3  Australia
Tries:

Goals
Jean-Pierre Capdouze (5)
Tries:
Johnny Greaves
Goals
Stade Albert Domec, Carcassonne
Attendance: 4,193
Referee: Andre Breysse France
France Position Australia
Andre Lacaze FB Les Johns
Daniel Pellerin WG Johnny King
Guy Andrieu CE Johnny Greaves
Roger Garrigues CE Graeme Langlands
P. Surre WG John McDonald
Jean-Pierre Capdouze SO Tony Branson
Roger Garnung SH Billy Smith
Christian Sabatie PR Peter Gallagher
Yves Begou HK Noel Gallagher
P. Dubie PR Elton Rasmussen
Georges Ailleres (c) SR Ron Lynch
Francis de Nadai SR Ron Coote
Georges Bonet LF Johnny Raper (c)
Jacques Fabre Int.
Adolphe Alesina Int.
Coach Reg Gasnier

Third Test[edit]

7 January 1968
France  16 – 13  Australia
Tries:
Daniel Pellerin
P Surre
Goals
Jean-Pierre Capdouze (5)
Tries:
Johnny Greaves (2)
Graeme Langlands
Goals
Les Johns (1)
Graeme Langlands (1)
Stade des Minimes, Toulouse
Attendance: 5,000
Referee: Georges Jameau France
France Position Australia
Claude Mantoulan FB Les Johns
P. Surre WG Johnny King
Michael Moliner CE Johnny Greaves
Guy Andrieu CE Graeme Langlands
Daniel Pellerin WG John McDonald
Jean-Pierre Capdouze SO Tony Branson
Roger Garnung SH Billy Smith
Christian Sabatie PR Peter Gallagher
Yves Begou HK Noel Kelly
P. Dubie PR Elton Rasmussen
Francis de Nadai SR Allan Thomson
Georges Ailleres (c) SR Ron Coote
Georges Bonet LF Johnny Raper (c)
Coach Reg Gasnier

References[edit]

  1. ^ Legends of Australian sport: The Inside Story. Australia: University of Queensland Press. 2003. p. 79. ISBN 9780702234101.
  2. ^ 1967 Ashes series - Game 1
  3. ^ 1st Ashes Test
  4. ^ 1968 Ashes series - Game 2
  5. ^ 2nd Ashes Test
  6. ^ 1967 Ashes series - Game 3
  7. ^ 3rd Ashes Test

External links[edit]