Rugby Memorabilia Society

1925 France vs New Zealand

17th January 1925 Toulouse

The Town was festooned with British flags in honour of the visitors. The All Blacks were the guests of the Pyrenees Rugby Committee of Toulouse on Thursday during a visit to Luchonsuper-Bagneres, where they were entertained at Luncheon. The Team afterwards witnessed an exhibition of Skiing and an ice hockey match between teams representing Belguim and Spain.

18th January 1925 Match Day ‘Morning’

Toulouse is packed with visitors from the surrounding towns and villages who desire to see today’s match. The ground only has accommodation for 30,000 spectators and it is expected that thousands will be disappointed. All Black fullback George Nepia is in bed with a bad cold, and is a doubt to play in the forthcoming match.

18th January 1925 Match Report ‘NZ Herald’


The All Blacks defeated France today at Toulouse by 30 points to 6. Almost summer weather prevailed, and there was no wind. The turf was in excellent condition. The commencement of the match was delayed owing to the crowds encroaching the touch-line. Long before the start the ground was packed to the limit of its capacity. Detachments of military reinforced the Police guarding the approaches to prevent the ground being rushed. It is estimated that over 50,000 people had arrived in Toulouse from surrounding towns and villages to see the game. At least 10,000 were unable to find accommodation and walked the street all night. The gate takings exceeded £4000.

1925 France v New Zealand match programme - Rugby Memorabilia Society
Match Programme

The teams were given a tumultuous reception.
France adopted the three-four formation in the scrum. The New Zealanders won the toss and played with the sun behind them. The game opened at tremendous pressure and the crowd was worked up to the highest pitch of excitement when the French forwards wheeled a scrum and dribbled away in dashing style. But Nepia effected a magnificent save. The visitors retaliated with a brilliant passing rush in traditional All Black style. Porter, Cooke, Lucas and Steel broke away and a final pass by M Brownlie put Porter over at the corner ‘Five minutes after the start of the game’. Nicholls made a great effort but failed to convert. Three minutes later another fine handling movement overwhelmed the opposition and ended in Steel scoring behind the posts ‘Nicholls converted’. After a period of strenuous forward play at midfield, the Frenchmen having recovered from the All Blacks sensational beginning initiated a number of dashing attacks on their own account. The New Zealand defence was severely tested, Du Manoir made a thrilling run, but was not supported. Then Piteu made a promising opening from behind the scrum, but Jaureguy on the wing lost a splendid chance by making a weak kick ahead instead of passing when he had several supporters unmarked.

Jersey swapped by the New Zealand international Quentin Donald after the International vs France in 1925 -april 2007
French Jersey swapped with All Black Quentin Donald (sold at auction in April 2007 for £2880)

Cooke ubiquitous as ever turned defence into attack, cutting through and opening up another machine like evolution. Lucas outstripped the opposition and passed to Svenson who scored ‘Nicholls failed to convery’ New Zealand commenced to dominate the scrums and Mill was feeding his backs splendidly although he was hampered by the French back-row forwards, who were frequently offside.
Richardson was always prominent in the line-outs and he broke away with tremendous dash and sent on to Steel, who passed to White and the Southlander scored a sensational try after a great sprint. Nicholls again failed to convert. Almost immediately White repeated the performance from a great individual effort and once more Nicholls failed to convert.
Although the All Blacks continued to hold a territorial advantage, the Frenchmen made occasional brilliant rallies and towards the close of the spell Porter saved magnificently when this line was threatened. The teams were greatly affected by the heat, but the pace scarcely slackened.

Half time came with the score
All Blacks 17
France 0

Handley Brown -£8308 (Feb 2016) - Rugby Memorabilia Society
All Black Jersey worn by Handley Brown during the 1924/25 Tour (sold at auction in Feb 2016 for £8308)

French Score Two Tries

Immediately after the game was resumed the Frenchmen attacked resolutely. Gaining the possession from a scrum. Piteu sent Baillette ad Du Manoir away on a great run, which ended at touch near the corner. From a quick throw in Cassayet secured and dashed across ‘Du Manoir failed to convert’.
The crowd rocked with delight at France’s unexpected and brilliant onslaught. Maintaining the pressure the French forwards took the ball at toe in an irresistible rush and Ribiere scrambled across amid a perfect furore of cheering. Boubee failed to convert, making a poor attempt.

All Blacks 17
France 6

1925 France v NZ Touch Judge Flag - Rugby Memorabilia Society
Touch Judge Flag from the International in Toulouse

Encouraged by this amazing change of fortunes in the game, the Frenchmen continued to wage a desperate offensive, the forwards playing with superlative dash and skill. Piteu an Du Manoir the half backs, were exhibiting wonderful cohesion behind the scrum and opening up play in delightful fashion.
Only deadly tackling and intense backing up staved off further scores. Nepia and Cooke brought occasional relief with the lengthy line kciks, but the Frenchmen continued to keep in the ascendancy until Nicholls made a brilliant opening. Dummying, swerving and side-stepping, he evaded opponent after opponent and short punted across. Cooke was just beaten in the race for possession.
New Zealander’s Counter-attack
This was the prelude to a series of sharp All Black counter-attacks. After some fine short-passing among the forwards, Irvine dived across for a try that Nepia failed to convert. Great work in the loose by Richardson and Brownlie almost enabled Steel to score. Then C Brownlie, Nicholls and Cooke figured in a magnificent passing bout, ending in Cooke scoring ‘Nicholls brilliantly converted’
Toward the close Svenson put in a well judged centring kick and Cooke secured and scored by the posts ‘Nicholls converted’
And the game ended

All Blacks 30
France 6
The game was quite upto the best international standard. The French form was immeasurably superior to that exhibited in the Paris game, but they were a team of individuals. Many of them were brilliant, but they lacked the power of sustained concentration and displayed inability to make use of their chances. By contrast the All Blacks showed magnificent combination and automatic understanding by which they exploited every opportunity.
The game was played in an excellent spirit and the crowd spontaneously and sportingly acknowledged the visitors polished Rugby proficiency.
Richardson, The Brownlies, White, Nepiam Steel, Cooke and Nichols were the most outstanding players for the All Blacks

1925 France v NZ Post Match Menu - Rugby Memorabilia Society
Post Match Menu

If you have any memorabilia relating to this match please get in touch.

France: 6
Cassayet (try), Ribere (try)
New Zealand: 30
Cooke (2 tries), White (try), Porter (try), Steel (try), Svenson (try), Irvine (try), Richardson (try) Nicholls (3 conversions).

Major H.E.B Wilkins (England)

Stade Des Ponts Jumeaux (Toulouse)


A Chilo, A Jaureguy, J Ballarin, M Baillette, H Halet, Y. Du Manoir, R Piteu, J Boubee, E Ribere, A Bioussa, A Cassayet (Capt), A Laurent, A Maury, J Marcet, A Montade
New Zealand:
G Nepia, J Steel, F.W Lucas, K.S Svenson, A.E Cooke, M.F Nicholls, J.J Mill, C.G Porter, A White, J Richardson, M.J Brownlie, R.R Masters, C.J Brownlie, Q Donald, W.R Irvine

NZ Herald, Men in Black

Peter Douglas-Davies