Latest Episode:




Looking back at Rugby in the 1919 Inter-Allied Games

First USA Army Rugby Team, 1919

You can read through the official history of the 1919 Inter-Allied games.  The games were established to promote brotherhood among the Allied Nations and future peace.  At the Inter-Allied games was the first launching of doves during opening ceremonies which would carry on at the 1920 Antwerp Games.  Here are excerpts from the US Army's official history of the Inter-Allied Games as the volume's recording of Rugby Union.  
The champion French Army soccer team and the champion Rugby team had been determined long before the date of the Games by reason of successive victories in the army and even over teams of other nations.
The Rugby team which represented Belgium was the one which had played in Army games as a unit for some time previous to its Games competition. During its training for the Paris contests it defeated England and tied France in a triangular contest held in England, 2 to 6 May and it also defeated Czecho-Slovakia in a game played at Rome on 15 June.
Interestingly, the Belgians, England, and Czech-Slovakia would not compete during the Games.



The soccer team and the Rugby squad were picked from army players, those men being chosen who had shown the most aptitude for the game. Neither of these games had been played in Roumania more than three years before the war and for this reason the players had never engaged in competitions of a nature to make trained and experienced teams.
Coach Jack McKenzie, the Y.M.C.A. man in charge of soccer, chose a large squad of the best players and added to them others in the Expeditionary Forces who had made good records in the Army matches or in play in the United States. Eight practice games were played at the stadium during the course of training, three with the French team, two with the Roumanian team, and the remainder between picked teams of the American squad. The Rugby team was picked in much the same way, though the elimination process was simple compared to that of soccer, and it was necessary for the players to be recruited to the squad through the individual efforts of the officers in charge of the sport.
The large crowds filling Pershing Stadium day after day regardless of rain and cold were the proof of the persuasive power of the publicity campaign. The same is true of the thousands who saw the swimming competitions in the Bois de Boulogne or who watched the Rugby matches at Colombes.
The large crowds filling Pershing Stadium day after day regardless of rain and cold were the proof of the persuasive power of the publicity campaign. The same is true of the thousands who saw the swimming competitions in the Bois de Boulogne or who watched the Rugby matches at Colombes.
Cricket, included as a courtesy to expected English entries, was given up when the three Dominions decided not to enter teams against each other; and for a similar reason American intercollegiate football failed to take its place with soccer and rugby. Nor were exhibitions of these sports held. The Dominions concentrated their attention on the many events in which they were entered, while the warm weather made it undesirable to employ the equipment and to undergo the training and practice necessary to bring American intercollegiate football up to its standard of presentation.
SERIES of three games was played between teams representing France, Roumania and the United States, France took the championship, defeating both Roumania and the United States, while the United States, by a victory over Roumania, took second place.
England, the home of Rugby, and the British Dominions, which have given to the game some of its most noted exponents, did not send entries.
The French presented a team of experienced players, all of whom had participated in international series against teams from England, Wales and New Zealand. The Roumanians likewise sent an excellent team composed of players from Rugby clubs of Bucharest.
The American team was assembled from the Army by Captain Herbert R. Stolz, M.G. It included California college players and two members who had played Rugby at English universities.
All games were played at Colombes Field. The English Rugby Union rules governed.
In the first contest France defeated Roumania by a score of 48 to 5. The teams played an even game for the first fifteen minutes after which the Roumanians weakened and allowed France to score six goals and six tries. In the second half the Roumanians showed a flash of form and scored a well-earned goal.
The second contest, played between Roumania and the United States, resulted in a victory for the United States by a score of 23 to 0. The superior weight and physical condition of the Americans counted in their favor. The Americans scored four goals and one try.
The final game, in which France and the United States met to decide the championship of the Inter-Allied Games, resulted in a memorable struggle. Against the science and experience of the French the Americans pitted their youth, perfect physical condition and an extreme eagerness to win.
The Americans opened the game with a rush and kept the offensive during the first half, the French appearing overawed by the vigor of their opponents' attack. Most of the play during this half was in the French in-goal territory. The half ended without a score.
The Americans scored first in the second half. A fine dribbling rush brought the ball down from midfield and Clock made the try. Hauser attempted to make it a goal but the angle was too great.
The French, nothing daunted, came back and scored within a few minutes. A series of kicks brought the ball within striking distance and Struxiano carried it over. He likewise kicked goal. Score: France 5, United States 3.
An offside by the Americans enabled the French to improve their score, Struxiano making a successful free kick.
The Americans individually played star games, but having had only six weeks' team practice, they were unable to overcome the advantage of longer training and experience which the French had. Under these circumstances it was a commendable achievement for the Americans to hold the French team to a low score, and the French sport writers, in their accounts of the game, paid tribute to the athletic prowess and enthusiasm of the Americans which enabled them, with but a short period of intensive training, to match more experienced opponents.
A crowd of about 5,000 persons witnessed the game, and the enthusiasm and interest with which they followed the play indicated the popularity of Rugby in France.

And of course, scoring was more different then!
THE GAMES
23 June, 1919— France, 6 goals, 6 tries Total 48 vs Roumania, 1 goal Total 5
26 June, 1919— United States, 4 goals, 1 try Total 23 vs Roumania Total 00
29 June, 1919 France, 1 goal, 1 free kick Total 8 vs United States, 1 try Total  

~Aaron Castro