From The Vaults

07 December 2020
Argentina's First Test Match

Earlier in the year, Eduardo García Sáenz provided a tour report of the British & Irish Lions 1910 tour of Argentina. Here he provides more detail, including local match reports, on Argentina's first ever test-match on the same tour.


Notice in THE STANDARD newspaper, 11 June, 1910.


England - The Argentine

"This match is to be played tomorrow, Sunday, at the Sociedad Sportiva, kick off at 2.45 p.m.

"Space kindly ceded by The Primeras Marcas and Messrs Weigall and Ehiert".

Sunday 12 June, 1910.

British & Irish Lions v Argentina.

Sociedad Sportiva (now Palermo Polo Field).

Referee: T.Duncan.

Kick off at 2.45 p.m.

Large number of spectators. The Standard said: "Large and enthusiastic crowd".

British Combined (now British & Irish Lions/white jersey): J.E. Raphael (captain, Oxford and Old Merchant Taylors); A.C. Palmer (London Hospital RFC), B.B. "Barrie" Bennetts (Penzance RFC and Cornwall), E.H. Fuller (Old Merchant Taylors RFC and Kent) and H.C. Monks (Liverpool Old Boys, Wigan RFC and Lancashire); A.L.H. Gotley (Oxford University) and R.Harrison (Northampton RFC and South); W.S Stranach (Guy 's Hospital RF), R.B Wadell (Glasgow Academicals RFC) and H.En Ward (Harlequins RFC and Middlesex); H. Whitehead (Manchester AC and North of England) and L. Fraser (Merchistonians RFC); W. Huntingford (United Services and Blackheath RFC), M.B. Tweed (Guy 's Hospital) and R.D Strang (Old Merchants Taylors and Surrey).

The River Plate Rugby Union (now Argentina/blue jersey): J.E. Saffery (Belgrano AC); Cornelius J. McCarthy (Buenos Aires Great Southern or BAGS), Oswald Saint John Gebbie (captain/Buenos Aires FC), Frank de Courcy Maitland Heriot (BAFC) and Henry Francis Talbot (Rosario Athletic Club, now CA del Rosario); Carlos T. Mold (BAFC) and Arnoldo Pencliff Watson Hutton (Belgrano AC); Barry H. "Fairy" Heatlie (born in Worcester, Western Cape, South Africa and Lomas AC), L.H. Gribbell (Belgrano AC) and W.H. Hayman (BASG); F. Henrys (BAFC) and Francis William Campion Sawyer (BAFC); A. Bovet (BAGS), A. Donelly (Lomas AC) and Alvin Reid (BAFC).

SCORE VALUE: drop (4 pts.), try (3 pts.), penalty, in 1910 they call place goal (3 pts.) and goal (2 pts).


First half:

25 minutes- Palmer try, converted by Raphael from a corner, and almost impossible to convert. Raphael started the advance, dodging several and yielded to Palmer, he returned it to fullback Raphael, who returned it to Palmer who in a quick run scored the first try.

(5 pts.) For the newspaper La Prensa it was an extraordinary try.

32 minutes- try by Franck de Courcy Maitland Heriot, this was the first try for Argentina in a test match. A.P.Watson Hutton took the ball, who passed it to Heriot, he passed it to McCarthy, who was tackled for Raphael and Palmer, the ball ran loose and was picked up by Heriot who made the try. (3 pts.)

Half-time: British Combined 5 Argentina 3.

Second Half:

45 minutes- Monks try. Harrison makes a run, gives the ball to Monks, the latter to Fuller, who goes back to Monks and makes the try. Harrison's conversion hit the post and went out (3 pts.).

47 minutes- drop from Harrison, through a pass from Palmer. Elegant drop, from the British player surrounded by blue shirts. (4 pts).

51 minutes- Fraser try from a Palmer pass; he dodged the Argentine full back. (3 pts). There are newspapers that give Bennetts the try.

55 minutes- penalty, converted by Harrison (3 pts.). The newspapers called it a penalty, place goal.

73 minutes- try by Monks converted by Harrison. (5 pts.)

80 minutes- try by Huntingford, converted by Harrison. The forward's entry into the goal was with Gebbie trying to stop him and yet he made it. (5pts.)

FINAL RESULT: British Combined 28 ARGENTINA 3


How the match was reported:

LA NACION (1870-present).

"The game was excellent in its first half in which the local team could be seen playing without a marked disadvantage against a powerful rival; but in the second it fell completely due to the fatigue of our players, which took away all interest in the game" .

The home side's defence was good and the same thing must be said for the mid-backs. In the three-quarter line McCarthy and Talbot were the best players. "

"The English team as usual combining in an excellent way and not wasting even the slightest opportunity to increase (their lead)".

THE STANDARD (1861-1959).

"Brilliant Argentine game in the first half".

"The visitors showed a scientific, clean, strong game and the backs were efficient in defence and attack"

"Full back Raphael made some exceptional plays."

"The referee was at a satisfactory level."


LA PRENSA (1869-present)

"The local team was quite good, but if it could have been strengthened, especially in the front line with some elements of de Medicina team, worthy of appearing in yesterday's important games it would have been better." In the England box, the back Raphael and the three-quarter line stood out as usual, combining in a very good style Raphael managed to score several tries admirably. "In the halves line, Gotley was the most timely and effective, especially in the scrums." "The forwards developed strong play distinguishing Huntingford, Fraser and Whitehead for their precise tackle." "In the local team, McCarthy, H. Talbot, Heatlie stood out".

HISTORY OF RUGBY IN ARGENTINA, from the first match in 1873, by James McGough (printed in 1927).

"The most important event in the history of our rugby is, largely, the arrival of an English team in the year of the celebration of the Centennial of the Argentine Republic ". "They did what was expected of them, playing an open game and clearly highlighting the duties of the halves and the three-quarters."

On June 17, the farewell was announced in THE STANDARD newspaper, on page 11: "8 p.m. Banquet Farewell, in Sociedad Sportiva, San Martín 561."

About the Author - Eduardo García Sáenz played for Marist Brothers Club (1975-79) and coached the Argentina national sides at under 19 and 21 level (1979-80). Since then he has worked as a radio commentator, television and newspaper columnist. He has written extensively about the history of rugby, football and polo in Argentina. Eduardo welcomes correspondence and can be contacted by email at [email protected] or on twitter @nichetorugby

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