In 2011, during the Rugby World Cup, there was a re-enactment of the first game played under rugby rules in New Zealand, on the original site – the Observation Hill reserve in Nelson. The first game was played on 14 May 1870 between the Nelson town football club and Nelson College. The re-enactment, watched by about 5,000 spectators, emphasised how far the original game consisted of large rolling mauls, as shown here. Points were not scored when a player touched the ball down over the goal line, but only when they kicked a conversion after the touchdown and so ‘converted’ the ‘try’ into points.
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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Jock Phillips
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