1949 New Zealand rugby union tour of South Africa
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Test match
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 South Africa
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1949 saw the second full tour of South Africa by a representative New Zealand rugby union team (the New Zealand national rugby union team). The All Blacks achieved a record of 13 wins, 7 losses and 4 draws, and they lost the test series 4–0.

Non-selection of Māori players

As they had in 1928 and would do again in 1960, the New Zealand union left Māori players out of the 30-man tour squad to meet apartheid conditions set by South Africa. Particularly notable omissions were "Johnny Smith, Ben Couch and Vincent Bevan... All three (and Ron Bryers) would surely have otherwise gone to South Africa."[1] Smith's official All Black profile now acknowledges "the unforgivable weakness shown by New Zealand rugby".[2]

Kiwi Blake (who was of African American heritage but played for the Māori All Blacks) is quoted as saying that after a trial match he, Bevan and Smith were told by a selector that "If you had been eligible, you would have all gone". Researcher and historian Malcolm Mulholland wrote the All Blacks captain Fred Allen "later mourned the loss of Smith and, in particular, Bevan...as one of the main reasons for the All Blacks' four-nil series drubbing".[3] The squad that did go refused to perform the traditional haka before any match on the tour in protest with Jim Parker citing: "The war cry is a creation of the Māoris and as we have no Māoris with us we are not giving the war cry."[4]

In 2010 the rugby unions of New Zealand and South Africa, and the South African government, apologised for this selection policy which was implemented at the South Africans' request by the NZRFU, which at the time had said that it "did not want to subject them [i.e. Māori] to possible reprisals".[3]

As this tour took place, a simultaneous Australia tour to New Zealand led to the unusual situation of two All Black tests on 3 September 1949, in Durban and Wellington. The All Blacks lost both. One reason for New Zealand affording the Australian series test status was to allow Māori players excluded from South Africa to earn caps.[1]


Scores and results list New Zealand's points tally first.
Opposing Team For Against Date Venue Status
Western Province Universities 11 9 31 May 1949 Newlands, Cape Town Tour Match
Boland 8 5 4 June 1949 Boland Stadium, Wellington Tour Match
South Western Districts 21 3 8 June 1949 Oudtshoorn Ground, Oudtshoorn Tour Match
Eastern Province 6 3 11 June 1949 Crusader Ground, Port Elizabeth Tour Match
Border 0 9 15 June 1949 Recreation Ground, East London Tour Match
Natal 8 0 18 June 1949 Kingsmead, Durban Tour Match
Western Transvaal 19 3 22 June 1949 Kruger Park, Potchefstroom Tour Match
A Transvaal XV 6 3 25 June 1949 Ellis Park, Johannesburg Tour Match
Orange Free State 9 9 29 June 1949 Kroonstad Ground, Kroonstad Tour Match
Eastern Transvaal 5 6 2 July 1949 PAM Brink Stadium, Springs Tour Match
Western Province 6 3 9 July 1949 Newlands, Cape Town Tour Match
South Africa 11 15 16 July 1949 Newlands, Cape Town First Test
Transvaal 13 3 23 July 1949 Ellis Park, Johannesburg Tour Match
Rhodesia 8 10 27 July 1949 Hartsfield, Bulawayo Tour Match
Rhodesia 3 3 30 July 1949 Old Hararians' Ground, Salisbury Tour Match
Northern Transvaal 6 3 6 August 1949 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria Tour Match
South Africa 6 12 13 August 1949 Ellis Park, Johannesburg Second Test
Northern Universities 17 3 17 August 1949 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria Tour Match
Griqualand West 8 6 20 August 1949 De Beer's Stadium, Kimberley Tour Match
North-Eastern Districts 28 3 24 August 1949 Aliwal North Ground, Aliwal North Tour Match
Orange Free State 14 9 27 August 1949 Springbok Park, Bloemfontein Tour Match
South Africa 3 9 3 September 1949 Kingsmead, Durban Third Test
Border 6 6 10 September 1949 Recreation Ground, East London Tour Match
South Africa 8 11 17 September 1949 Crusader Ground, Port Elizabeth Fourth Test
Cape Town Clubs 11 11 21 September 1949 Newlands, Cape Town Tour Match


  1. ^ a b Palenski, Ron (2003). Century in Black: 100 years of All Black test rugby. Auckland, N.Z.: Hodder Moa Beckett. p. 184. ISBN 1-86958-937-8.
  2. ^ Knight, Lyndsay. "Johnny Smith". allblacks.com. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  3. ^ a b Smith, Tony (25 March 2021). "Our Truth, Tā Mātou Pono: Māori All Blacks' hurtful and racist exclusion from South African rugby tours". Stuff. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  4. ^ "The blackest year in All Black history". Stuff.co.nz. 25 July 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2023.