From the match programme:-
"THE FIFTH SPRINGBOKS"
"All players experience disappointments in one form or other during their careers. I have had my fair share, but one that was particularly cruel to me was my inability, due to injury, to take the field against the Fourth Springboks during my captaincy in 1951/52. Today I am fully compensated, because this season I have the honour to be Chairman of the Football Committee."
"The Fifth Springboks come to us this afternoon with an invincible record and fresh from their triumph over England at Twickenham last Saturday. Undoubtedly they have followed our fortunes through the season so far, and are aware of our lack of lustre during the last few months. I am sure that they sympathise with us, particularly in the loss of Norman Morgan. Brian Jones has under his command a good blend of youth and experience and he will be keen to add another "Springbok Head" to partner the one adorning our tea-room which was won so gloriously from W. A. Millar's Second Springboks in 1912. To all the South African party I offer a hearty welcome, and I trust that the game today will be accorded a high rating in their list of pleasant memories after they return to their homeland."
"Skipper Avril Stefan Malan (Transvaal) became South Africa's youngest ever captain in his third international against New Zealand last year, and his relentless leadership on this tour has earned him the respect of all opponents in the four Home Counties. Scrum-half Richard John Lockyear is Vice-Captain. His vast experience of playing overseas rugger must undoubtedly be of immense value to the side."
"I make my bow, leaving the stage to thirty eager players and of course, the oft forgotten man with the whistle."
"R. T. (Bob) EVANS,
"Chairman - Football Committee."
"THE SOUTH AFRICANS"
"(by JACK DAVIS)"
"The Fifth South Africans arrive at Rodney Parade unbeaten. They survived perhaps the greatest challenge to their record when at Twickenham on Saturday they beat England by a converted goal to nothing. So behind them are 23 matches, 22 wins and 1 draw. To mar their all-conquering march was the 3-3 draw on November 5th with Midland Counties. They have had other narrow squeaks, notable in Ireland, and, of course, at Ebbw Vale, where, against the Combined team from Ebbw Vale and Abertillery, they could score only one try - and that when the Monmouthshire team were a man short."
"In Wales, of course, they have won all their matches - Cardiff 13-0, Pontypool-Crosskeys 30-3, Swansea 19-3, Ebbw Vale-Abertillery 3-0, Wales 3-0, and Llanelly 21-0. That is a great record however you look at it."
"In recent games (apart from that with England), the Springboks have been inclined to play a more open game than seemed to be their choice in earlier matches. So, after their defeat of Wales they played nine matches which yielded them no fewer than 176 points. Having established superiority forward, they found that they could exploit without undue risk their very accomplished wings. As the result, we find that H. J. van Zyl has scored 11 tries, Antelme 11, and Engelbrecht 9, while the goal kicking of first Lockyear and then du Preez has improved beyond recognition compared with the early weeks of the tour."
"The final impression left by these Springboks will almost certain be that they are the most efficient rugby machine ever to visit these shores and their discipline is absolute and no risks are ever taken. Without one really outstanding player, their average ability is probably higher than anything we have ever seen. And so we look to this afternoon's game not with any wild optimism that Newport can pair that Springbok head they won in 1912, but with the hope that Newport will put up a gallant fight and that the Springboks will show us something really worth seeing."
The match itself:-
An inspirational performance from Newport's back row master Glyn Davidge was not quite enough to lower the Springbok colours. He overcame the heavy conditions to finish the match still performing at his best as the South Africans wilted but they just held out for the narrowest of wins.
The South African management acknowledged the fact that they had been fortunate to win as Newport missed several chances that could have sealed an upset. Regular kicker Norman Morgan was injured and missed the game and he watched on as Newport squandered many kickable penalties whilst trying to catch up following Pieter Van Zyl's early touchdown.
This was the closest that any club team came to beating this particular South African touring party and eventually they would lose only one match during the whole tour. That was against the Barbarians in Cardiff when the Baba's team contained three Newport players - Brian Jones, Brian Price and Billy Watkins.
o - o - o - o - O - O - O - o - o - o - o
The Times of 12th January 1961 reported as follows:-
"NEWPORT KICKERS HAVE A MIXED DAY"
"From Our Rugby Football Correspondent"
"Newport 0pts., South Africans 3"
"It was a grand effort by Newport to hold the South Africans, whose record is now 23 victories and a draw in 24 matches, to a single try to nothing in a hard, boisterous game yesterday. Their performance was loudly acclaimed, and deservedly so, by their home crowd, though there were times when fierce partisanship seemed to affect the accuracy of spectators' eyesight."
"Those of the visitors who played against England on Saturday had a slightly jaded look about them, as though some reaction had set in. If that was so it would not be at all surprising for already the tour has been a long one, and seldom has there been a grimmer, more keyed-up match than at Twickenham."
"Be that as it may. It detracts nothing from Newport's great effort. Recently they have hit a disappointing patch, and yesterday they lacked N. Morgan, their international full back of last year. As things turned out his absence may have been vital in the matter of place kicking, for three penalty kicks were missed in the Springboks' 25. But that was as conjectural as whether or not the South Africans would have pulled out just enough, as they have done up to now, if any of those kicks had gone over."
"At all events, the home pack played the game of their lives, with a cheerful and complete disregard for the reputation of their opponents. At the start it seemed that they might be shoved all over the place in the tight, but once they got the hang of things, they steadied admirably. That hardy warrior Meredith had splendid support on either side of him for his hooking, the second row and Davidge jumped with great effect in the line-out, where they took mostly long ones, and all of them went hard and uncompromisingly in the loose. Davidge has probably never played better, especially in defence."
"They were nursed shrewdly by the touch kicking of Watkins at their heels, and indeed Newport used the touchlines intelligently throughout the match. Their backs also had aggressive ideas of open attack, even if they seldom came to much against the usual massed covering of the Springboks. But they were always game to have a go, and young Edwards emerged with credit from a nerve-racking first game for them at full back."
"The South Africans can seldom have been so much in their own half since their tour began, and at times they looked more worried than they have done hitherto. But once again their remorseless discipline saw them through. The forwards met opponents prepared to regard them as human beings rather than demi-gods. Johns was hooking for the first time since he was flown here last month as a replacement, and there were moments when this famous pack looked almost puzzled. But A. S. Malan, their captain, who jumped prodigiously in the line-out, drove them hard, and Hopwood proved yet again what a magnificent forward he is either in attack or in defence."
"In the second half, particularly, the backs tried to redeem their Twickenham performance by opening up, but against wholehearted, first time tackling they looked strangely ill at ease. If they seldom looked really dangerous they did at least try to make a game of it. Wilson played his usual polished game at full back."
"It was in under five minutes that the Springboks took the lead that they were to be so stoutly pressed to maintain thereafter. When a Newport pass was excitedly dropped Kirkpatrick pounced on the ball and streaked off to the right. The forwards, as is their wont, were up with him and P. J. van Zyl - all three of this nomenclature were playing - scored in a fairly easy position for the kick. It was strange to see the skipper take it, and he will probably be content to forget it."
"It was strange also to see the South Africans mostly in their own half with Newport pinning them back with tactical kicks to touch. Not that they neglected to open up, for from time to time Watkins flung out some fine passes from the scrimmage. Once Newport found touch near the visitors' line from a huge drop out, then Watkins missed a snap drop at goal, and just before the interval Jones, who had had some unsuccessful shots at goal, was smothered in the Springboks' 25 after an enterprising cut through."
"Newport attacked hard in the second half, with their forwards going great guns. A break and cross-kick by Griffiths saw a movement develop to the right and Lewis floored not far out. Hopwood got him again shortly afterwards. Watkins missed another drop, and Jones another penalty kick. Newport, in fact, tried everything, using both forwards and backs in their effort, but the South African covering in depth, and fearsome tackling, beat them off every time."
"NEWPORT.- B. Edwards; C. Lewis, G. Britton, B. J. Jones, P. Rees; W. Griffiths, W. R. Watkins; D. Greenslade, B. Meredith, N. Johnson, I. Ford, B. Price, B. Cresswell, G. Davidge, G. Whitson."
"SOUTH AFRICANS.- L. G. Wilson; M. J. G. Antelme, B. B. Niekerk, A. I. Kirkpatrick, H. J. van Zyl; K. Oxlee, P. de W. Uys; S. P. Kuhn, R. Johns, J. L. Myburgh, J. T. Claassen, A. S. Malan, P. J. van Zyl, D. J. Hopwood, G. H. van Zyl."
"REFEREE.- G. Thomas (Aberporth)." .