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Film: the third test - 1981 Springbok tour

Video file

The third test: Eden Park, Auckland, 12 September 1981 (6mb).

Flour and smoke: the deciding third test – 'all hell broke loose'

The third and final test would decide the series. Peter Burke, the All Blacks manager later described it as 'a magnificent game' and felt that the All Blacks had a 'job to do for New Zealand rugby and the rugby-loving people of New Zealand'. Once more, off-field events overshadowed the game itself, which the All Blacks won 25–22 thanks to an injury-time penalty by Alan Hewson.

Outside the ground 'all hell broke loose'. Fighting erupted in the streets surrounding Eden Park and police were pelted with rocks and missiles. Some commentators argued that hard core protestors were joined by opportunists who just wanted to fight with police.

While security around the ground was the tightest of the tour, the battle was taken to the sky above Eden Park. The actions of Marx Jones and Grant Cole in their hired Cessna aeroplane probably made the abiding memories of the game. Jones and Cole buzzed Eden Park and dropped flares and flour bombs in a bid to halt the game. In surreal conditions, befitting the nature of the tour, the game continued. All Black prop Gary Knight was felled by a flour bomb, and the South African captain asked 'whether New Zealand had an air force or not?'

See also: Interview with All Black Doug Rollerson and Cessna pilot Marx Jones (14.5 mbs)


Extract from 1981 tour special on Close up, 4 July 2006.

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Film: the third test - 1981 Springbok tour, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated