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'Flour-bomb test' ends Springbok tour

12 September 1981

All Black prop Gary Knight is felled by a flour bomb
All Black prop Gary Knight is felled by a flour bomb (NZ Herald/

The third and deciding rugby test at Eden Park, Auckland, is best remembered for the flares and flour bombs dropped onto the playing field. Outside the ground, violence erupted on an unprecedented scale.

As was typical of this tour, the onfield action was overshadowed by events elsewhere. Fighting erupted in nearby streets and police pelted with rocks and missiles gave as good as they got. The protesters seemed to have been joined by opportunists keen to fight the police.

Security around the ground was the tightest of the tour, but Marx Jones and Grant Cole took their anti-tour protest to new heights in a hired Cessna aircraft. While protesters at the ground fired flares onto the playing field, Jones and Cole peppered Eden Park with flour bombs in an attempt to halt the game.

Against this surreal backdrop, the rugby continued. When All Black prop Gary Knight was felled by a flour bomb, South African captain Wynand Claassen asked if New Zealand had an air force. The All Blacks won 25–22 thanks to an injury-time penalty goal by Allan Hewson.

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'Flour-bomb test' ends Springbok tour, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated