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The Cavaliers was the name given to an unofficial New Zealand rugby union team which toured South Africa in 1986, playing the Springbok rugby team.

1986 Cavaliers tour in South Africa
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Test match
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 South Africa
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After the intensely controversial 1981 South African tour of New Zealand, which had provoked nationwide protest and worldwide condemnation, the official All Black tour planned for 1985 was cancelled due to a legal ruling that it would be incompatible with the NZRFU's legally stated purpose: "...the fostering and encouragement of the game of rugby..."[1][2]

Of the 30 players who had been selected for the 1985 tour, only David Kirk and John Kirwan did not join the Cavaliers. The rebel team were widely believed to have received large secret payments—a controversial issue at a time when rugby union was still supposedly an amateur sport.[3]

The Cavaliers were coached by Colin Meads, managed by Ian Kirkpatrick and captained by Andy Dalton and won just one of the four matches against South Africa, although they won seven of their eight other games on the tour. Dalton, however suffered a broken jaw in the second match of the tour against Northern Transvaal and played no more rugby that season, Jock Hobbs assumed the captaincy duties for the test matches against the Springboks while Andy Haden did the same for the midweek matches.

It was widely condemned for touring apartheid South Africa, and very controversial within New Zealand[4] - and there were no future rugby contacts until the South African apartheid regime ended.

The players found that support for their actions was far less than they had expected. On their return, the NZRFU barred all the players from participating in the next two All Black tests, and instead selected a new group of players. Most of these replacement players were younger, and were quickly dubbed the "Baby Blacks".[5][6] Those new All Blacks went on to form the basis of one of the most successful periods in All Black rugby,[7] which resulted in many Cavalier players struggling to get their places back.

Not being able to play with the traditional jersey, the team presented on the field with a black uniform, relieved with bands of gold in honour of the tour sponsor, the South African Yellow Pages,[8] who also covered the stay expenses for the team.[8] The emblem consisted of a gold background with a green oval in which an upright silver fern accompanied by a Springbok appeared.[9]





Scores and results list New Zealand's points tally first.
Date Opponent Location Result Score
23 April Junior Springboks (Griquas Invitational XV) Johannesburg Won 22-21
26 April Northern Transvaal Pretoria Won 10-9
30 April Orange Free State Bloemfontein Won 31-9
3 May Transvaal Johannesburg Lost 19-24
6 May Western Province Cape Town Won 26-15
10 May South Africa (1) Newlands, Cape Town Lost 15-21
13 May Natal Durban Won 37-24
17 May South Africa (2) Kings Park, Durban Won 19-18
20 May South African Barbarians Johannesburg Won 42-13
24 May South Africa (3) Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria Lost 18-33
27 May Western Transvaal Potchefstroom Won 26-18
31 May South Africa (4) Ellis Park, Johannesburg Lost 10-24[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 September 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "NZRFU injunction cartoon". NZ History. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Mortimer, Gavin. "Black gold". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Oral History: The day the All Blacks grew up". NZ Herald. 25 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  6. ^ Richards, Huw (22 April 2016). "All Blacks rebel tour that created a split with New Zealand public". ESPN. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  7. ^ Morrison, Iain. "Remembering rebel All Blacks tour of apartheid South Africa". The Scotsman. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  8. ^ a b Eric Marsden (23 April 1986). "Striking gold on rugby fields of South Africa". The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Replacement player on tour.
  11. ^ South Africa (6) 24 - 10 (10) New Zealand Cavaliers,, retrieved 21 November 2013.