The main source for the following is an article in the match programme for Newport v New Zealand in 1989:-
Some expressed the opinion that the New Zealand All Blacks of 1935-36 lacked the hardness, superb drill and dedication of the 1905 and 1924 teams. Their record:-
Played 30, Won 26, Drawn 1, Lost 3, Points for 490, Points against 183 - did not satisfy the fans back home and the British sports-writers were critical of several below-par performances.
If the tourists did not reach the great heights of the previous All Blacks there were mitigating circumstances. The changes in the laws made it compulsory to pack three men in the front row and also the New Zealanders had been forced to abandon their wing-forward ploy which had been a key factor in their success in 1905 and 1924. The wing-forward had long been considered an obstructionist by the British. He would feed the ball into the scrum and remain there to baulk the opposing scrum-half or run from his position to prevent the opposing wing-forward getting to grips with the New Zealand outside half.
The All Blacks started their tour playing seven forwards and using the wing-forward to "put in". This proved ineffective and the All Blacks then adopted the 3, 4, 1 formation.
Early in the tour Jim "Rusty" Page tore knee ligaments and he played only three games. The absence of this thrustful five-eighth and the early injury to the star hooker Bill Hadley was also another setback. Of their eight games in Wales the Third All Blacks won six and lost two - narrowly to Wales at Cardiff by 13pts to 12pts, and to Swansea by 11pts to 3pts. The All Blacks only other defeat was against England and the drawn game was at Ulster - not a bad record!
When the New Zealanders arrived in Newport they were in a confident mood after two impressive victories - against Cardiff and Llanelli. The Newport team was without the regular outside half, Joe Dunn, and Ken Squire substituted. Heavy rain fell during the morning but the crowd had reached around 20,000 at the kick-off. The All Blacks attacked strongly from the start and within eight minutes Eric Tindall, at five-eighth, had dropped a neat goal. There followed a long period of pressure from the Newport forwards urged on by scrum-half Jim Hawkins, who made several storming runs which just failed to bring a score. Just before the interval however a harsh decision gave the All Blacks a penalty and Gilbert's kick just scraped over the bar. At half-time the All Blacks led by 7pts to nil (a drop goal was then 4pts) and three minutes after the change-over the Usksiders were 11 pts in arrears when Tindall dropped his second goal.
The score flattered the New Zealanders as Newport had enjoyed much more territorial advantage. Probably the youngest Newport pack ever to take the field in an international fixture (R.H. Williams was just out of the High School), played with a confidence and style that belied their tender age in this battling performance against formidable opponents. Led superbly by J R Evans, and with 'Bunner' Travers excelling in all facets of the game, the pack swarmed all over the field and the youthful Travers gave a hint of the greatness that was to come by decisively out-hooking his New Zealand counterpart. Newport lacked pace behind however and the All Blacks added to their lead with a goal from a mark by McKenzie and a scrappy try from Ball. The Black and Ambers were not done however and wing Jack Knowles scored a fine try under the posts which John Evans converted. Sadly John Evans was later to be killed on active service in North Africa in World War II. Although the defeat was clear-cut, the game ranked with the historic encounters of 1905 and 1924. It must be remembered that 14 of the 17 points scored by New Zealand came from kicks - the try count was equal!