What’s happening here?
It’s late November 1937 and a dank afternoon at Iffley Road for Oxford’s annual game against Major Stanley’s XV. The Pavilion/changing room in the background, where the players used to warm their hamstrings in front of the splendid coal fire, remains to this day. Fly-half Ian Watts, one of five rugby-playing brothers from the Hoylake club, is attacking audaciously from deep in his own half and outside him is Alexander Obolensky, the Russian Prince who had become the pin-up boy of English rugby.
What’s the story behind the picture?
Obolensky blazed a brief but glorious trail yet this picture was taken when his international career had already been over for a year or more...although nobody knew that.
He had first come to recognition two years earlier when, as a second-year student he made the Dark Blues XV and scored a spectacular 70-yard try in Oxford’s 10-9 defeat against the All Blacks. A few weeks later he was making the headlines again in the Varsity match when he accelerated over the Twickenham turf to drag down JR Rawlence when the Cambridge wing had seemed certain to score. As a result the game ended as a 0-0 draw.
The England selectors took note and in January 1936 he made his England debut against the All Blacks at Twickenham and scored two of the best tries ever seen at the home of English rugby as England beat the tourists convincingly.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Fitzpatrick Raises Key Question For Regions
Any Lancashire member vexed at seeing so little of their champion bowler on the domestic front will have some sympathy with those who subscribe to another superstar of similar vintage.
The prince has his eyes on the prize as usual
Brendan Gallagher delves into some of rugby’s most enduring images, their story and why they are still so impactful
Time for Exeter to ditch the warpaint
To misquote Aristotle, ‘human nature abhors a vaccuum’, and with no rugby at present, the hottest topic around seems to be the headdresses that some Exeter Chiefs supporters like to sport.
Chick: Falcons aim to start fast and not fade
NEWCASTLE back rower Callum Chick says the Falcons will be flying when their Premiership campaign kicks off against champions Harlequins on September 19.
Winning a breakdown was my greatest joy
THE FORMER BRUMBIES, BATH, LEICESTER AND EXETER FLANKER TURNED DEFENCE COACH
Ladesma and Cheika are under pressure
Having lived in Europe for 14 years, I’m now back in Argentina and have been closely following the start of the 2021 Rugby Championship.
Defibrillators are essential, every club should have one
I want to use my column this week to discuss an issue which is both incredibly important and also very close to my heart and that is the importance of every Welsh rugby club having a defibrillator.
I'm delighted for Kolbe, he deserves all the riches
IT’s absolutely staggering to see the amounts of money involved in Cheslin Kolbe’s transfer from European champions Toulouse to Toulon. It’s mind-blowing, and also brilliant news for rugby that these sums of money are batted around in the sport. I couldn’t be happier for Cheslin or any other player to command that sort of contract.
Titterrell swots up on the new boys
Adam Ellis talks to England U20s coach Andy Titterrell after his first year in the job
Wolfpack sharpen claws for bear pit
JACKSON Wray claims the Wolfpack have sharpened their claws and are “hungrier than ever” to regain their seat as England’s top dogs.
Finola Hughes (Anna, GH)
Terms of Endearment
KATE'S FITNESS Secrets
Kate Middleton swears by a grueling daily workout routine to keep herself in top shape - physically and mentally
A Slice of Paradise
A designer's lifelong wish and unique sense of style influenced her search for the perfect vacation home.
Ahead of the Game
Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi on how goal setting, unflinching ambition, and being humble will take you further.
VOICES AS TOLD TO LIFE'S Work
Better Things creator and star PAMELA ADLON on how the show gave her an OPPORTUNITY to REINVENT some things about the way HOLLYWOOD operates-both on-screen and off
Beware of Oak Poisoning!
"It can be very difficult to diagnose chronic poisoning in horses caused by the consumption of acorns, says Dr Mac."
Green and Pleasant Land
An early summer cruise along England's south coast proved an unexpected treat for Phil Johnson
DREAMER OF DREAMS!
Timothée’s Golden Ticket
UK ENERGY CRISIS: GOVT IN CO2 DEAL TO AVERT FOOD SHORTAGES
The British government agreed to support an American-owned firm that produces much of the U.K.’s carbon dioxide, a deal designed to avert shortages of meat, poultry and packaged foods amid a crisis triggered by soaring energy costs.
BARBRA & CHARLES THE WAY THEY WERE
Streisand reveals smitten prince sent flowers from his own garden