Regular contributor to the Gloucester Rugby matchday programme and lifelong Gloucester supporter Peter Arnold casts his mind back over previous Australian visits to Kingsholm.
It's obviously tremendous news that the Australians are to come here to play Gloucester on November 3rd. The first time since 1908, apparently. Just to put that into context, my father hadn't started coming to Kingsholm then, because he was only four years old.
However, although the Wallabies may not have tried conclusions with Gloucester in over 100 years, they have certainly played here in the interim.
I remember it well. This was in the days when the County Championship really meant something, being second only to the international scene in terms of importance to English rugby.
Although Gloucestershire were ruling the roost at the time, divisional rugby was beginning to take hold, and Australia played the South and South West at Kingsholm during the week preceding their game against England.
Phil Blakeway will remember it well. The Gloucestershire front row were making a right mess of their Ozzie counterparts, when suddenly a fist appeared from nowhere and broke Phil's nose. Not only did he have to leave the field, but he missed the England game on the following Saturday.
You can imagine the behind-the-scenes mutterings that went on about that. The County had been doing well up to that point, but couldn't hold their illustrious visitors afterwards. Phil Blakeway really was that influential.
It's a great coup for the club to have secured this match, and all concerned are to be congratulated. I notice that my old friend Mike Burton was very much involved in persuading the Wallabies to come here, and I find that a bit ironic.
'Burto' was, of course, the first English player to be sent off in an international away in Australia. The incident was controversial, coming at the end of a period of sustained mayhem when the ref warned the players that the next guy to transgress would get his marching orders.
Mike had, no doubt, been a bit naughty! But it wasn't a sending-off offence in normal circumstances, a fact tacitly acknowledged by the authorities at the subsequent disciplinary hearing. All has now, clearly, been forgiven and forgotten.
This isn't the first time, of course, that a full international side has played Gloucester. When the World Cup was last in England, the international side came to Gloucester in a warm-up match. If I remember rightly, Mike Teague was given the honour of leading the visitors out, an experience which must have been strange and gratifying for him.
We did quite well, too, only letting the England boys get away from us in the last quarter or so.
The very next Saturday we went one better. We actually beat a full Irish side, masquerading as the Irish President's XV. The visitors were great about the loss. In fact, the President said to me that, what I had to remember, was that in England the situation is always serious but never hopeless, while in Ireland the situation is always hopeless but never serious!
Then they went on to run the Australians desperately close in their World Cup match, the Wallabies only being saved by a bit of last-minute David Campese magic.
So welcome to the Australians. They'll be writing another page in the proud history of Kingsholm.
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