Published in Thirteen, 2005
The second Test 1989
Great Britain v New Zealand
Leeds, October 28th
“We didn’t get the selection right in the first game. Unless you coach someone week in week out in club football you don’t always know how mentally tough they are and how prepared they are to give that extra yard. I selected one or two who weren’t up to it and we got touched up. In the second test at Elland Road, they kicked down after the first set and Steve Hampson was trying to get out of the in-goal area, hotly pursued by Gary Freeman. Steve headbutted him and got sent off. Gary was a bit of a nark and he was probably verballing Steve but you don’t lose it like that. So, the guys really had to stand up. I remember having a fall out with Andy Goodway in a pre-match team meeting because he’d turned up late. I didn’t think his attitude was as it should have been but he moved into the centres from the back row after the sending-off and had a great game, winning man of the match and scoring two tries. Then we went on to win the series.” – British coach Malcolm Reilly.
Hampo off twice in a weekend!
YOU remember this one!
Steve Hampson sent off for head butting Gary Freeman in the second minute but Great Britain go on to thrash the Kiwis to level the series..
The Kiwis toured on the back of a humiliating 3-0 home whitewash handed out to them by the Aussies but, with their reputation on the line, they came up with a 24-16 win over a British side in the first Test without Ellery Hanley and Garry Schofield at Old Trafford.
Neither returned for the second game while the out-of-sorts Andy Gregory made way for his club mate Shaun Edwards as Britain sought to keep the series alive at Elland Road a week later. The other notable changes were the debut of young Featherstone centre Paul Newlove and Steve Hampson coming in at fullback for Alan Tait.
Hampson immediately hit the headlines. He collected an early kick in his in-goal area and as Gary Freeman grabbed hold of him, Hampson turned and headbutted the Kiwi halfback. Greg McCallum sent him off and Great Britain had to play for 79 minutes with 12 men.
But the home side’s response was superb. Edwards, who had almost turned the first Test after his introduction as a substitute, scored a try and soon created another for Martin Offiah as the home side made a mockery of their numerical disadvantage to lead 12-0 at the break. The try Edwards had scored was a cracker as he started and finished a handling move involving six players deep in the Kiwis’ territory.
In the second half, Edwards’ pin-point kicking kept Britain on the front foot and a rare scrum win against the head followed by a successful strike at the play the ball saw Britain 18-0 up as Edwards sent Andy Goodway to the posts. Goodway had moved to the three-quarters after the sending-off and was having a blinder.
Hugh McGahan pulled one back finishing off a wonderful handling move started by winger Gary Mercer but a late Goodway try sealed a famous 26-6 win for the British who went on to wrap up the series in Wigan 10-6 courtesy of tries to Martin Offiah and Alan Tait.
Five years later, Britain pulled off another 12-man win, this time over the Aussies at Wembley, but this wonderful effort deserves its place in Rugby League history as one of Great Britain’s most emphatic wins in recent Test match history.
As for Hampson, “I get reminded of it every so often and I recently saw a picture of the sending-off. It brought back memories but not fond memories! I then got sent off playing for Wigan against Castleford the following day. In all those years, I was never spoken to by a referee but I was sent off twice in one weekend.”
Great Britain 26 (Edwards, Offiah, Goodway 2 tries. Goodway 5 goals)
New Zealand 6 (McGahan try. Sherlock goal)
Great Britain: Hampson, Ford, Newlove, Loughlin, Offiah, Edwards, D Hulme, Skerrett, P hulme, Platt, Goodway, R Powell, M Gregory. Subs: Hobbs & Fox
New Zealand: Williams, Iro, Bell, Sherlock, Mercer, K Shelford, Freeman, A Shelford, Mann, Todd, Sorensen, Stewart, McGahan. Subs: Kemp, Bancroft, Kuiti & Faimalo