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The rugby outlaw who never came back

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Tom Fordyce | 14:13 UK time, Tuesday, 18 October 2011

When New Zealand run out on Sunday for their first World Cup final in 16 years, the posher seats in the Eden Park grandstands will be packed with All Black greats from down the years - Colin Meads, David Kirk, Wayne Shelford, Tana Umaga and so on.

But there is one legendary figure in New Zealand rugby folklore who has not been invited. Even if he had been, he wouldn't have come.

The story of Keith Murdoch is one of sport's more extraordinary epics: the hard-drinking, hard-punching loner who, hours after scoring a match-winning try for his country, was involved in an incident that resulted in him becoming the only All Black to ever be expelled from a tour. He then ran away in disgrace into the Australian Outback, never to see his team-mates again.

It is also, with New Zealand on the brink of equalling the greatest moment in their rugby history, a cautionary tale of what sporting fame can do to ordinary men caught up in the whirl of media hoopla and public expectation.

Keith Murdoch is back row, far left

New Zealand on the 1972 tour of Great Britain; Keith Murdoch is back row, far left. Photo: Hulton Archive

Country boy Murdoch - 17 stone, Zapata moustache, a cross between Norman Hunter and Giant Haystacks - was already infamous in rugby circles when he arrived in Britain with the All Blacks for their 1972 tour.

Stories abounded of his fearsome strength and love of booze: the time he towed another man's car to the garage by holding the rope between the two vehicles in one hand; the occasion he missed a game against the Lions after falling asleep under a tarpaulin on a moored fishing trawler and waking up at sea, a two-week voyage ahead of him.

He was also, according to BBC rugby correspondent Ian Robertson, an "awesome prop forward". But his life would change forever after what should have been the best game of his life - the brutal 19-16 win over Wales in Cardiff on 2 December, 1972.

Late that night, with the All Blacks team celebrating their win in the Angel Hotel on Castle Street, Murdoch was confronted by security guard Peter Grant as he went hunting through the kitchens for more beer. Insults were thrown, then punches. Grant, at 6ft 4in the taller man, was knocked to the ground before other staff stepped in.

Murdoch woke up the next day expecting to apologise and no more. Instead, with British rugby officials and newspapers piling pressure on Kiwi tour manager Ernie Todd, he was told he was being sent home.

His team-mates were horrified. Far spicier things had happened that winter, or indeed on the Lions tour the previous year. But they were about to get worse.

Murdoch, an intensely shy and private man, was put on a plane back to New Zealand. Knowing that an army of reporters awaited him in Auckland and appalled by the tag of "national disgrace" that newspapers had given him, he made his fateful move: jumping off the plane at Singapore, adopting an assumed name and boarding instead a flight to Darwin. He would never be seen in public again.

New Zealand was left both stunned and spellbound. Imagine Mike Tindall disappearing in Dubai as the England team flew back from this World Cup's dwarf-throwing allegations, or Andrew Flintoff vanishing after his drunken pedalo antics at the 2007 World Cup.

Attempts were made to contact him, to bring him back into the fold. All failed.

With every year that passed without a sighting, the mystery deepened still further. Terry McLean, doyen of rugby writers, called it 'a Shakespearean tragedy'. "People haven't stopped talking about him for 39 years," says Robertson.

Murdoch, now 68 years old, continues to resist all attempts at being tracked down. Working as a farm labourer and bulldozer driver, he lives an itinerant life, following seasonal work across Queensland and the Northern Territories.

Very briefly, 22 years ago, he returned to his homeland. When rumours of his arrival reached the media, he fled back to the Outback, never to touch New Zealand soil again, losing all contact with his family and even missing his beloved mother's funeral.

Bryan Williams was Murdoch's All Blacks team-mate and his friend. "He obviously feels a sense of guilt about it," says Williams. "He has resisted all attempts to get him to any reunions. I don't think he's ever truly recovered."

Neither did his All Blacks captain, Ian Kirkpatrick, who was stricken with guilt over his own role in the affair. "His ultimate regret was that he did not say he would be with Murdoch on that plane along with the other 28 players," says Robertson, present at the match in Cardiff that fateful day. "He still worries to this day that he did the wrong thing."

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Murdoch scores against Wales in 1972

With the World Cup final just days away, Murdoch's name is once again in the newspapers. Margot McRae, the only journalist to have successfully tracked Murdoch down in Australia, has written a play about the drama that has just opened in Auckland's Q Theatre.

"It took me three months of dogged research until I found him in a little town called Tully in Queensland, late in 1990," McRae told BBC Sport.

"I think if it had been a male reporter I would have been biffed out pretty quickly. We sat down and talked for about an hour, but it wasn't an easy conversation.

"He was a deeply shy person, not very articulate. He felt it was better to be quiet than be embarrassed. He was not going to come home and be confronted by reporters.

"He was an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary circumstances. To be pounded by media attention would have been hell for him. He never talked about it to his friends, or his team-mates, never asked for sympathy, never wanted to be the centre of attention.

"There was a real sense of a wound that's never healed. There must be a sense of humiliation he feels about it."

Murdoch refused to speak on camera. McCrae, desperate to pull off such a huge scoop, secretly followed him with a film crew - something she regrets to this day.

"He was out in the bush, slashing away with a machete. The camera crew were a hundred yards behind me, but they were afraid. Then he heard me. The slashing stopped and there was this moment's silence. Then he just ran away."

McCrae's experiences have left her wary of what today's All Blacks stars may go through, especially if they leave the Eden Park pitch this weekend as the first New Zealand team to hold the Webb-Ellis Trophy in almost quarter of a century.

"It's this building up of heroes and villains that we do so much in sport, especially in this country with rugby," she says. "What are the implications for these ordinary blokes caught up in this?

"Keith never wanted to explain himself. Nowadays they have no choice. If some poor All Black gets drunk, he has to apologise to the media.

"They become iconic figures, but they're just guys, good and bad. We love our heroes and villains, but it's always more complicated by that."

No one knows where Murdoch will be when the game kicks off on Sunday, or even whether he will bother watching it on television. If that sets him apart from four million of his compatriots, it's been that way for a long, long time.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Wow, what a story. Very sad really. A great sportsman isn't always a bold showman despite their persona on the pitch. Being split from his family because of this seems hardly believable. Poor man.

  • Comment number 2.

    Great article Tom.

    If the England team had that philosophy after an incident, the whole team would have been able to fit on a canoe back home

  • Comment number 3.

    The man lived ina different time. Today they court the media. Highly unlikely the pedalo ponce and the other idiot would disappear as that would show something not found in English sport and that is some sort of responsibility for their actions.

  • Comment number 4.

    good story. thanks

  • Comment number 5.

    Another great article, done some sterling work down

  • Comment number 6.

    A good blog Tom and I recall the incident.

    I agree times have changed, players use the media today instead of shying away from it. He obviously wants to be left alone and I hope that the media respect his wishes although any return would make a great story.

  • Comment number 7.

    I was at the AB's game v Ireland on that tour and wondered if he had played. From the records I found (on Wikipedia) he played v Wales in early December but also played v Scotland two weeks later. The Ireland match wasn't till mid January. So if the records are right it wasn't a quick decision to send him home. It's an amazing and sad story though.

  • Comment number 8.

    I wrote about Keith Murdoch a while ago, and there have been some interesting comments on my blog from people who claim to have known him since his disappearance. http://davidhaviland.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/whatever-happened-to-keith-murdoch/

  • Comment number 9.

    Good article Tom, Thank you.

    I hope this man can return home soon and with a clean slate. I also hope the media can leave him alone if that's what he wants.

  • Comment number 10.

    I am a South African now resident in Canada, and have just returned from Wellington , where watched and Followed The Boks and Canucks and the pressure is huge , the NZ folk will all run away to the outbacks if they do not pull this off this weekend - you cannot believe the weight on their shoulders

  • Comment number 11.

    I was working in Port Hedland, Western Australia in the 1970s. One night, when out having a beer with my Kiwi mate in the Hedland Hotel, another mate, an Aussie all 5,'2"of him walked in with this giant of a man, he introduced us to Keith Murdoch. I found him to be a genuinely unassuming nice guy who felt he had been treated poorly and wished to remain out of the limelight.

  • Comment number 12.

    Irony is, Tom, if he'd come home in '73, weathered the media storm for a few days and then slipped into obscurity, it would all be over long, long ago and this would now be a non-story. By disappearing into the Australian outback without a trace he's simply added to the mystique which surrounds him and turned himself into a rugby version of Lord Lucan. He's created the very thing he so desperately wants to avoid.

  • Comment number 13.

    #7 declan - this is from the All Blacks profile of Murdoch.
    He never played again.

    http://stats.allblacks.com/asp/profile.asp?ABID=641

  • Comment number 14.

    What an amazing story Tom- real rugby drama! Stuff like this makes me want to be a sports journalist- are there any jobs going at your BBC place???!!!

  • Comment number 15.

    This truly is an amazing stroy. We had just arrived in the UK in September 1972, courtesy of Idi Amin. But that is another story. We settled in Hawick and as fate has it the All Blacks were also in town. We actually shared the hotel and to think we were together with this team!! That was my first encounter with rugby and ever since I have been hooked and follow it avidly.

    I do not remember individual team members but I do recall how friendly they were and understanding when they heard about our plight.

  • Comment number 16.

    I got about halfway through reading this and thought "i wonder how long it will take for someone to compare this to the England Rugby team?" and there we go, the second comment!

    surely this blog is more to do with a man who is extremely shy rather than having any comparison to the completely over blown antics of the England squad in New Zealand?!

    Really enjoyed reading this blog Tom. fantastic work while over there in New Zealand, just a shame it will have to come to an end.

  • Comment number 17.

    @16 Livepaul85: I think the comparison is fair as Tom mentions certain England memebers IN the blog!

    @12 hunk4hire: The problem is he wanted to avoid the media storm. So buy running away he has. Sure it has dragged it out for so long but on a day to day basis or month to month he has not had to face up to the storm.

    Have to admit i had never heard of this stroy before but it is facinating. Shame someone who must have been a very good player never played the game again.

  • Comment number 18.

    He mentions ONE english Rugby squad member in the blog, but even before that you could see the haters already licking their lips at the prospect of being able to bash England and its members one more time.....

  • Comment number 19.

    Ok he mentions one Rugby, and one Cricketter! But i think you have jumped the gun slightly. Post no 2 was fairly tame, and wide of the mark!

    Take a chill pill!

    Interestingly, the England antics dont really add up to knocking a man down in a fight whilst trying to rob beer!

  • Comment number 20.

    I remember the incident well. I was 16 and a friend of mine had just got a new goldfish, which he called Murdoch.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    @ 20

    probably the best post i've ever read. Actually made me laugh out loud! thank you for that!

    @ 19

    you rlast point there is exactly what i'm talking about, The current England side did no real damage to anyone, they weren't fighting, weren't stealing, weren't doing anything other than enjoying themselves so why are they being compared to a man who had a drunken fight while trying to steal something?

  • Comment number 23.

    @ 22: You are correct there. The only comparison really si that there was a big media storm about both. Though in truth did either really deserve a big media storm?

  • Comment number 24.

    Hello New Zealand

    Maybe it's time to let Keith know 'it's time to come home'.

  • Comment number 25.

    Sad tale. There was another much uglier one, during the 70´s I think, and also in Cardiff, about a prostitute who was allegedly assaulted and killed by a member of a SH touring rugby team, out celebrating after a game. I understand the player was hurriedly removed from UK and the incident was hushed up, to the shame of the people involved.

  • Comment number 26.

    This article was really touching, and very, very sad. However, on the pitch and off it Murdoch did often behave like a psychopath and it is possible that the events which culminated in his disappearance into the back of beyond might all have been consequences of a borderline disposition rather than a trigger which set it off. I suggest that he was never the player you'd want your children to see in action, let alone meet, and, if he hadn't been made to leave the game under one set of circumstances, he'd probably have been made to leave under another.

    I don't say that to sully the man's memory, 'though I suggest that he appeared to be well able to attend to that himself. I do say it because there seems to me to be something of a gulf between his antics and those of most high-spirited youngsters who wake up the next morning feeling mortified by their own silliness.

  • Comment number 27.

    @ 23

    I think attacking a security guard while trying to steal beer in a different country while representing your home nation probably does deserve to be in the papers. Maybe not to the extremes that we see today but it is surely worthwhile reporting on.

    Does the other incident really require much media coverage? Probably not. But in these times it will always get it.

    @ 25

    Surely if that is true then it should be a police matter. I don't feel that shame is a strong enough word to describe anyone that covers up anything like this. that is a Horrendous story! i sincerely hope it is incorrect.

  • Comment number 28.

    There isa big problem with peoples obsession with celebrities and the need for people to get their 15 mins of fame!

    I would like to think that if a governing body of a tour knew one of their players had killed or seriously injured someone they would hand them over to the police. Kind of reminds me of the O'Driscoll spear tackle.........hate to bring it up again but its players getting away with a hell of a lot just becasue they are sports "stars".

  • Comment number 29.

    It's all a bit "Lord Jim" to be honest. Come on, get real, the guy didn't do anything seriously untoward and goodness knows, rugby players at that time boasted of their drinking prowess. Probably still do, but in more muted circumstances. Anyway it's Murdoch's problem and the world has moved on, I don't have much sympathy for him. But at least leave him alone, if that's what he wants.

  • Comment number 30.

    Once more, Tom, you have come up trumps, on a topically brilliant moving story full of the pathos of life as it was then seen through the eyes of man who eschewed the limelight. Could teach some our publicity-prone sports people a thing or two

  • Comment number 31.

    @ 30

    what is he going to teach? How to knockout a security guard while trying to steal something?

    @ 29

    He didn't do anything untoward? did you not read the blog?

  • Comment number 32.

    I wish Mike Tindall had disappeared in Dubai...

  • Comment number 33.

    It is a sad story, and he got caught in another incident as well. About 10 years ago the Australian Outback police were trying to find him concerning the alleged murder of an Aboriginal man who had broken into his property. I'm pretty sure he wasn't a suspect but as soon as the media put two and two together and realized who he was his name was making headlines again.

  • Comment number 34.

    The guy obviously had some serious issues and deserves sympathy up to a point. But Fighting and heavy drinking is anti-social behaviour and deserves to be punished whoever you are. Unfortunately the guy’s shy nature made it difficult to process the incidents and the remorse and guilt he felt the next day while suffering a hangover. Temperamentally some people are unsuited to functioning acceptably in public and often that’s what turns them to drink. In fact, his shyness probably predisposed him to alcoholism. He needed more support from friends and team management to get on top off his problem. That said, todays all blacks are way over-scrutinised and generally the media are the culprits here. If they have a few boozy nights they re suddenly labelled alcoholics or alcohol dependent and everyone knows about it. And then team management force them to make a public apology which the media lap up and make a big song and dance about. All so fckn childish!

  • Comment number 35.

    Great story - one which has entralled the NZ media on and off since it happened. The irony is that it would have been forgotten about years ago if he'd just come home.

    Londoner in Exile is right that many players today court the media - but that doesn't protect them from the problems associated with the glare of publicity. John Kirwan's fight against depression, for example, is well documented, and was surely not helped by having to maintain the macho persona expected of a rugby player.

    And they'r just human, after all, prone to the same failings and quirks as everyone else. The news media hung on every scrap of information about Tindall's exploits, but I bet he wasn't the only Englishman who got drunk and made a fool of himself in New Zealand during the competition!

  • Comment number 36.

    No.. 35 , you're right, there were also the others who harrassed the female hotel worker, among others.. but that's another story.

    Tom, can you please write an interesting story about the French?
    Sorry to be selfish but I know all the NZ ones already.
    Thanks

  • Comment number 37.

    @ 35

    i really enjoyed your post up until "The news media hung on every scrap of information about Tindall's exploits, but I bet he wasn't the only Englishman who got drunk and made a fool of himself in New Zealand during the competition!"

    I'm unsure exactly when Tindall got drunk and made a fool of himself? Would you think yourself a fool if you went to a bar one night, saw a friend there, chatted to her, had a bit of a laugh and she kissed you on the forehead? Not sure i would, I would just think it was a fairly decent night

  • Comment number 38.

    Great yarn...and yes, a sad story.

    I agree with Canuck #10...if the ABs lose this wknd they will all retreat to the Bush!

    IMO the pressure on this team to win on home soil is unparalleled for any other national sports team. People may argue cricket is bigger in India, hockey in Canada, or football in Brazil...but I think that given NZ's absolute obsession with the sport and with their team, and their dire RWC history, the All Blacks have more pressure on them to win than any of those other national sports teams.

  • Comment number 39.

    Difficult to say just what type of personality he had but it sounds like someone who's introverted. Got to remember he was living in 1960s - early 1970s NZ too, which compared to modern NZ was more like the far side of the moon, socially-speaking.

  • Comment number 40.

    Great artical on just one of the many missing All Blacks. In the photo of the team (front right) is Kent Lambert and I recently worked with him on a mine site in the Pilbara (Western Australia). What a great man and another past super star from the many the All Blacks have produced, and so humble when I spoke to him about is playing days with the All Blacks. It is an honour to say I worked along side an All Black and I hope he will be at the Final.

  • Comment number 41.

    I would love to hear of all the exploits from Rugby Teams at this (and other) WCs. Might put some things that have been made a big deal in the media into perspective. I am sure that NZ and Eng players weren't the only one hitting the town! Didn't some French players go out after QFs?

  • Comment number 42.

    SBW must epitomize the modern NZ rugby player caught in the media headlights - or let's himself get caught in them. He talks himself up real hard, has been known to make a ton of public bloopers, both on and off the field. But outside the media glare he's pretty much a typical guy from Bro'Town. Got some interesting observations too. For example when he was with Toulon he once said his team mate Jonny Wilkinson was pound for pound the toughest player he'd ever seen.

  • Comment number 43.

    Perhaps , after finally talking to someone , if she had not tried to follow him with a hidden camera crew , he might have decided it was time to move on .
    Nice one reporter , the News of the World didn,t invent no ethics , did they ?.

  • Comment number 44.

    In the 1990s a NZ Journo tracked down Keith in the Northern Territories. She managed to sit down with him in a country pub,1 evening for less than 15 min. She did not get a lot out of him on the night but she felt it was a great start. The next day she tracked through a farm so to find him and talk to him more, she could hear the sound of a machete cutting long grass with some vigour. And then she started with the "Keith ! Keith!". As I recall, the sound stopped and she never found him again. She is still a NZ Journo and has co written the play based on this incident. It is currently playing in Auckland

    http://www.qtheatre.co.nz/finding-murdoch

    Kia Kaha Keith

  • Comment number 45.

    @44 thanks for that information. though it does look a lot like what Fordyce was telling us.

  • Comment number 46.

    One story I tend to take a cynical view of was when former AB Norm Hewitt made headlines for public violence after a heavy night on the bottle. Next minute he's on TV blubbering about how he's seeking help for his alcohol problem. I'm not bagging alcohol addiction or anything, but at the time it felt like PR spin.

  • Comment number 47.

    UKiwi

    No.. 35 , you're right, there were also the others who harrassed the female hotel worker, among others.. but that's another story.

    You never miss an opportunity to have a go do you. As another poster has already suggested this woman chose to "spill the beans" 9 days after the fact why was that...I do not know what happened you do not know so get of your high horse. The England players apologized end of. I doubt you are that squeaky clean mate.

  • Comment number 48.

    Churguys I am with you on this one, I don't know why these incidents have been brought up time and time again. As i said in an earlier post it would be great to see all the teams off field antics, I bet there is not that much difference as is made out. What made me laugh was one article said that all the Wlesh players had given up booze, when to my knowledge it was only Sam Warburton who had. Gatland even came out saying they were "no angels", with Andy Powell in the ranks I can well believe that.
    Funnily enough when he stole that golf cart that seemed to be largely taken in good humour and no one seemed to suggest anything beyond a drunken mistake!

  • Comment number 49.

    The Keith Murdoch story certainly has a certain amount of intrigue about it given the length of time he has chosen to stay away.
    Times have changed for today's professionals and the sad case for the high profile English players... not doing the business on the field sadly gives the English red top hacks scraping around for a story.

  • Comment number 50.

    Porridge

    Come on now fairs fair it has been all over the Kiwi Media also....I watched you top political current affair show on Sunday morning and they mention the Mike Tins thing there in their recap of the week god knows why Tins saga was weeks ago ....

  • Comment number 51.

    BTW how were the Smurfs ?

  • Comment number 52.

    Great article just goes to show that journalists never know when to back off, bit like Tindall really. Just because Murdoch did not give her every detail there and then, she decided to push to hard and followed him with a camera crew and lost him for good. Where as, if she had spent a little more time gaining his confidence, he might well have given her a really good article. But never mind she will at least make money out of the drama.

  • Comment number 53.

    So is this guy actually Quade cooper in disguise? Oh wait....no, apparantly this fella could actually play rugby....

  • Comment number 54.

    Have to say liverpaul85 not totally sure what that comment is refering too........poor joke about Coopers nationality?

  • Comment number 55.

    Churguys...
    Totally agree with you about the NZ media they also have their fair share of bottom feeders that's for sure.

  • Comment number 56.

    Churguy... seemingly the Smurfs was fantastic thanfully Mrs Porridge stepped in at the last minute.

  • Comment number 57.

    I agree with reporter we build them up to knock them down no wonder he dissappeared. Different time I know but the pre cursor of what we have today, english press the worst ever and who needs rooney anyway he should disappear as well then we can get on with the rest of life

  • Comment number 58.

    Great story, one I had never heard before, clear that he had a fragile personality, all the attention must have led him to Going Batty!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    44 and 45, Laughingjackass, I see that NZRugbyFan took the original Fordyce article and put the words in a different order, perhaps his soubriquet should be NZJournalist?

  • Comment number 60.

    NZ media are real good at selectively creating heroes and villains. This whole Quade thing has blown up principally because of a hero created by NZ media - Capt Courageous McCaw. If Cooper had shot his mouth off and kneed a relatively lesser AB, odds are editors would have probably run the story a few times then dropped it. But this is a classic Anakin Skywalker v Obiwan scenario so milk it for as long as possible. It sells.

  • Comment number 61.

    Keith Murdoch was a legend before he went on that tour for his size and strength and his moody drinking binges, mostly in isolated places like Fiordland. The Aussie Outback suits him and the people and their social habits so a return to NZ now seems pointless. Its a fantastic place and for the right person it can get into your bones so I dont think he missed out on too much in life. He probably did the right thing and will long over the guilt and any feeling of being victimised.

    Not long ago the police were looking to question a Keith Murdoch over a murder in the NT. People pricked up their ears but it turned out to another Keith Murdoch. Strange, because most of us thought there could only be one.

    I'm sure he wont be reading this site as he's unlikely to be online / facebook / twitter or even read the newspaper for that matter. Its all nonsense - and he may have a point!

  • Comment number 62.

    Hi hymersob, boy I had to blink a few times when I saw your post. I thought it said, all the attention must have led him to Grant Batty!

  • Comment number 63.

    61.
    Your last paragraph is pricesless.

  • Comment number 64.

    I think we have to look at press activity in the context of what constitutes news in a country, it reflects the social make up of said country, for instance, the Tindall saga. "Man Kisses Woman" that is big news in NZ. As to the hotel incident "Men Flirt with Girl", similarly newsworthy. In the case of Tuilaggi " Man Gets Off Ferry, Does Not Ask for Refund" would have had readers gawping with incredulity.

  • Comment number 65.

    Churguys, my comment was number 36. I read the comment before mine (35) and made a post.. I choose not to sit here all day reading every post and replying to each. The fact that the worker came out 9 days later is irrelevant. It does not take away from the deed. And before you kick off on a big spin, it doesn't really bother me what the English players do, whether it's getting drunk, womanising or jumping off boats.. it all added up to a poor tournament. As for me, you're right, I'm no angel and I have done some silly things in my past but I've worked in law long enough now to realise that 9 days and an apology does not right a wrong. Something poor Keith is still realising.
    Enjoy the final :)

  • Comment number 66.

    Yep the Batty comment I also took to be comedy genius.

  • Comment number 67.

    Apparently Murdock has read the small print on qualification contracts and has picked up on the fact that if he does not set foot on New Zealand soil for 40 years then his AB caps are nullified and he is free to play for any country he chooses. Robbie Deans has already been in touch and he is likely to play tight head in the 2012 4N.

  • Comment number 68.

    Actually this is an old story, Tom, but you have done well to bring it up again. Very very sad, and looking at some of the above comments on other incidents, he was treated appallingly. Shame on all the officials of that day who were involved.

  • Comment number 69.

    A really interesting story. Sad in it's own self perpertuating way in that the longer he stays away the bigger the story becomes if he ever were to go back to New Zealand.

    Was there any real need to drag up the England stories again though? If you must first off can I just point out a few things
    1. Stop calling it dwarf throwing. It's been shown time and time again this is a media invention, but I guess rugby player drinking isn't enough of a story.
    2. I always find it surprising that the media are focusing in on Tindall drinking. For starters there were other England players there that night doing the same thing, next the far worse offence to me is the remarks to the hotel worker. Someone actually got upset and offended during that one, not the case in Tindall's drinking.

  • Comment number 70.

    How clever of Tom to regurgitate a story from the weekend papers!

  • Comment number 71.

    Porridge

    You was robbed :) about film I mean

  • Comment number 72.

    70, Venachar01, totally agree, Tom is very clever, sharing a newspaper article on an internet site, provided by a largely TV broadcasting company, on an international topic, in the headlines due to the RWC, about rugby but with a broader appeal, filling the void until the Final teams are announced and that countdown begins is very clever indeed. It exposes the story to a new audience, particularly people that did not buy the newspaper in question and allows comment from the readers that a printed publication would not permit, Tom, genius, thanks. Venachar, keep honing your sarcastic, ironic and facetious skills, they need work.

  • Comment number 73.

    Ukiwi

    Well if you have been an idiot in the past thank your lucky stars that someone trying to make a buck did not report you to the press

    The point is who or what made her complain 9 days later a news hack I bet. And think why do they keep regurgitating the story so people like you can do the same with your holier than thou attitude

    No does not make it go away, but they apologized, and how bad was it really you don't know nor do I. What I do know if it had been that bad the NZ police would have been involved .... ...I wish I had a $ for every time a Paper man pushed a story that was nothing...I also wish I had a $ for every time I had read about ABs getting on the booze...

    So as I say get of the pony mate


    He who can cast the first stone and all that ..........

  • Comment number 74.

    Hymersob

    Stop it my sides are hurting :)

  • Comment number 75.

    Churguys, well put, gives me a great segue in to quotes related to the Holier Than Thou and hypocritical attitudes, stay with them...
    Remove the plank from thine own eye, before removing the splinter from your brother's. ( Biblical)
    Physician, heal thyself. (Biblical)
    Judge not, lest you too be judged. ( Biblical)
    Before you cricise a man, walk a mile in his shoes. (Confucious)
    Before you criticise a man, walk a mile in his shoes, that way if you really annoy him, not only will you be a mile away, but you will have his shoes as well. (Anonymous)
    Say that again and I'll do you ( English suburbs,most Friday nights after 11 pm)

  • Comment number 76.

    Churguys, on the Musical Interludes theme, Robbie Williams "Let Me Entertain You".

  • Comment number 77.

    Musical Interludes suggestion (slightly left field I would have to admit) – How’s about just after Alain Rolland had shown the red card – “Are you blue or are you blind ?” by the Bluetones.

  • Comment number 78.

    Before you criticise a man, walk a mile in his shoes, that way if you really annoy him, not only will you be a mile away, but you will have his shoes as well. (Anonymous)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    I believe that's a Terry Pratchett quote, from one of the nightwatch books.

  • Comment number 79.

    bentyger, I googled it, generally regarded as anonymous, not attributed to any individual, Pratchett, bloody plagiarist!!

  • Comment number 80.

    Quite a poignant story. But how does such a shy and private person ever make themself play for a nation's Rugby Team (and not just any nation's Rugby team at that)? And prop forward? He must have needed the drink before setting foot on the pitch.

  • Comment number 81.

    What a sad story. I suppose that after all this time we should respect the man's obvious desire to be left alone.

    That being said...drunk & disorderly, aggravated assault and attempted theft! He probably deserved to be sent home. In more enlightened times we can only hope that he would have received a bit more help with what were very obviously serious personality problems!

    As for the NZ journalist "puffing" her new play? Words (almost) fail me. A fifteen minute, unproductive interview, followed by a classic act of journalistic betrayal and a chase, with camera crew, across a field. She can have precisely zero facts to base her story upon...which is just the way many journos like it as they can make 99% of it up. What could possibly lead me to believe that the play will revolve around a simple Kiwi bloke, wrongfully accused of a petty offence and forced off the tour so that the poms don't have to face his awesome, homespun talent on the pitch. You can almost hear the cut-glass accents of the "officials" as they weave their conspiracy! "Doubles all round what?"

    It didn't really take long for the inevitable comparisons to be made with the present England team by the weird types who like to recycle the "shocking allegations" over and over, presumably because, by definition, it makes them correspondingly virtuous. I think that people who are that "needy" or insecure should be left to themselves with their own blood-pressure problems!

    I wouldn't seek to excuse what has happened but the incidents are, in order, unwise, crass and plain stupid. Only the "hotel worker" story is remotely sinister and, even then, the lure of the journalist's cheque-book seems to have hugely outweighed any genuine hurt as a factor!

    Both England and NZ have astonishing media. NZ has a "see no evil" love-in with its rugby heroes and sees nothing wrong in spraying insults all around as far as anyone else is concerned. Once again, maybe it's time the host nation looked up the word "host" in the dictionary. Having worked in New Zealand I can vouch that most Kiwis are really nice folk, but like anyone else have their share of nutters and, from my work experience, people who could start a fight in an empty room!

    England's media is just as nasty but in a more complex way. The team was very clearly in for a total "monstering" from the outset. The redtops are on the look out for any scandal and one that ticks the "class" boxe about misbehaving "posh" rugger types goes down well with their readers in balancing out the cesspit of Premier League footie. The Daily Mail types rely on a constant diet of "relentless national and moral decline" stories for their readers and were laying into the England team even before Tindallgate! The "quality" press bend in the wind, depending on events, so as to have arrived at the correct verdict well in advance. The BBC is seemingly so in thrall to the noisy complaints of the 14% of people on these islands who are not English, that they feel the need to be uber-critical just to demonstrate their right-on, even-handedness. Non-English teams are always "gifted" or "gifted and brave" if they lose. This won't change!

    UKKiwi...you really puzzle me! You obviously hate everything about England and never waste an opportunity to have a pop! Yet you also obviously live here. Now I know that you guys are not that good at spotting a double-standard but I'm amazed that you don't quit these odious shores immediately. Possibly you have a good job and the all-important money outweighs all that revulsion! Nice!

  • Comment number 82.

    When you lay into the NZ media Anglophone is worth noting how many scribes that contribute to NZ papers are not actually Kiwis.

    The vile Mr Mark Reason for starters. A bitter pom who loves to pose as a Kiwi so he can stick the boot into his "home team" with thinly veiled irony.

  • Comment number 83.

    Woah! Never heard of this guy before. Quite a story. First impression is that he must have been on the autistic spectrum or something, better off leaving him in the outback I suspect.

  • Comment number 84.

    83 thegreyghost

    Good to see you again!

    Anyway..."a bitter pom who loves to pose as a kiwi and stick the boot in" etc etc. No specific offence meant but doesn't that apply to just about all of you, give or take a generation or two?

  • Comment number 85.

    Personally don't think Keith Murdoch deserved to be sent home for this, have spoken to the captain of this AB's team and from the sounds of things the media blew this out of proportion.

    @Anglophone - I disagree with you comments about "drunk & disorderly, aggravated assault and attempted theft!" He was just making himself a sandwich and the bouncer took exception to this and a fight happened. Not worth sending home for!!

    Altho do agree about you comments on the NZ media - they are becoming more like the UK media by the day - Not good!!

  • Comment number 86.

    71.
    Churguy... seemingly so;-)

  • Comment number 87.

    I've enjoyed the different themes which have come up on this blog. I hope that some personal rejoinders won't go amiss.

    64, hymersob: Brilliant. You know whereof you speak.
    81, Anglophone: Nicely put. Ouch all around.
    85, Benazzi: It might have been a question of the last straw which broke the camel's back, and that it wasn't only the stolen sandwich which resulted in his dismissal. I guess that the article doesn't make it entirely clear that (perhaps only among us old f**s) an entire folk-lore exists around Murdoch as a player, regardless of his disappearance. He is reputed to have taken intimidation to an entirely unique level, and was feared by opponents, team-mates, referees and spectators in a way which would not be understood by people whose experience of rugby has been confined to the last few decades. Even in a national side which in bygone times had no qualms about selecting front-rankers almost exclusively for their unbridled belligerence (and I leave it to you to surmise what that might entail in practical terms), he was always at risk of becoming an unsustainable embarrassment. Perhaps the NZ tour management was simply doing what had to be done, sooner or later.

    Let me not get pious. We've all behaved badly on occasion, I'm sure. I've met a great many security twerps - I mean officials - who try to stick it up customers and richly deserve a short-tempered whack. Still, most of us get a grip on ourselves and pursue the matter with management. Most of us would expect to face questions about our sanity if we did otherwise. Keith Murdoch evidently always did otherwise, in spades. Hopefully he's happy now, or at least so isolated as to be inflicting unhappiness on a minimum number of other people.

  • Comment number 88.

    Churguys, read my original post again.. number 36, which is a response to number 35..

    The point is that Tindall was not the only Englishman who got drunk and made a fool of himself in New Zealand.

    There you go, point over.

    And if you're looking to cast the "first stone" (which is crazy considering you're the only one casting anything), then take a look back to post number 2, comments were made well before my comment.

    Guess you're only after a little argument though aren't you?
    Kind of childish and predictable.

    Anyway, go get some fresh air and think about where you'll be watching Wales v Australia and France v NZ this weekend.

  • Comment number 89.

    Anglophone, I'm running late so cannot write a lot just now but I'll try and avoid a mass generalisation as you so easily and commonly do, quite simply shows laziness and lack of knowledge.. but anyway, just to make you feel better I don't hate all things English as you've so nicely assumed.. although I've left the Queens sunny shores after a quarter of my life, I still have ties to the place, my partner is English, I have property there, many friends and I still pay tax there, lucky me!

    Oh and about 4 of my countrymen play rugby for your national team, so I'll always maintain a little interest and hold a soft spot for the redrose somewhere deep inside :)

  • Comment number 90.

    Fascinating story. Obviously the guy had mental health issues. UK kiwi I don't think Anglophone is actually English, I reckon he's living on a 1950s mock English tv set in America somewhere and hasn't realised the friendly postmen and little old ladies are character actors who have been fooling him all his life. Anglophone England is a multicultural globalized country off the nortwestern coast of Europe, it used pounds and pence not shillings and crowns and about 20% of its population were born outside of the country and a significant proportion live in council estates...

  • Comment number 91.

    @89 UKKimi01:
    Which England players got drunk and HOW did they make fools of themselves?

    Please tell me you are not brining up the nationality arguement again!

  • Comment number 92.

    Daverichallen, start at post 1 and read through amd draw your own conclusions.. you know, think for yourself for once.

    Maybe I will help.. as I've eluded (no actually said about 4 times), I was replying to post 35 in my initial post (36)... hence the making "fools" of themselves comment.

    You guys quite clearly have a gripe with me when there are other comments saying the same or worse well before I said something to agree.

    Probably has something to do with NZ being in the final so nevermind.. I forgive you .

  • Comment number 93.

    @31 +37

    Have you nothing better to so with your time other than nit-pick? What a saddo!!

  • Comment number 94.

    @92 UKKiwi101: First off, I do not have a problem with you, if my comments were aimed at you when others have said the same thing it was simply because you were the most recent poster and so most liekly to respond!
    Secondly I am not sour in the least bit with NZ being in the final, they have played well, and I will be happy if they win. Im not even that annoyed England arent in the final as it may give English rugby a kick up the back side it needs. Dont try and turn this into your nation versus mine.

    I always think for myself. That's why I don't buy into this drunken foolery rubbish.
    The facts are players went out for drinks, this does not mean they got drunk, but they may have (other teams may have got slaughtered in their rooms!?!?!). However I fail to see how they made fools of themselves? Tindall was seen with a girl.....who kissed him on the forehead? I have always struggled with the relevance of this to anything? And the other incident in the hotel I believe to have happened not under the influence of alcohol, and was a bad judgement call blown out of proportion once the girl was offered to have her story sold!

    If you would like to explain to me where my thinking is flawed please be my guest.

    @93 Nadoramunis.........he can be a bit of a pain at times, but he has a point! Stealing and assult is much worse than getting drunk and bad jokes!

  • Comment number 95.

    @ 93

    How was i nit-picking? I am simply asking for people to back up their statements. Don't go shooting your mouth off without knowing the facts around the argument!

    I think you'll find that on post 37 i said i had enjoyed the post but disagreed with a certain comment. Is this not allowed anymore? Thought we had freedom of speech in this world.....

  • Comment number 96.

    Liverpaul did you not read the house rules? You can't nit-pick or expect someone to have evidence for anything they say! There is freedom of speech but it is always someones opinion and so you are not allowed to disagree or say they are wrong as it is their personal view (what has it got to do with you!) and if you do you are being rude!

  • Comment number 97.

    @ 96

    that must be why so many of my posts get removed!! Ooops.

    I think most people will see that the comments we made were valid and that we weren't trying to ruffle anyone's feathers....not too much anyway

  • Comment number 98.

    Next time just read the rules and stick to them! We wouldnt want a civilzed debate now would we!

  • Comment number 99.

    @ 98

    I have now read the rules, i will adhere to them at all times!

    So on that note....England are rubbish, they shouldn't have even been inthe world cup because the away strip was nearly black, they have players that weren't born in England and because all they do is go out drinking and make lewd comments to every woman they see. What a disgrace to this nation!

    Yet the residents of Dale farm are stand up citizens! Save our caravan!!

  • Comment number 100.

    I believe the away strip was All Black!

 

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