April 16, 1919
The New Zealand Army team was a rugby union team that represented New Zealand after the end of World War I and they defeated the Mother Country, the side representing Britain, 9-3 at Twickenham to win the King’s Cup on this day in rugby history in 1919.
The King’s Cup was a six team round robin tournament that included the Australian Imperial Forces, Canadian Expeditionary Forces, South African Forces and the RAF along with the New Zealand Army and the British Army (known during the competition as the Mother Country sides.
New Zealand got off to a great start with wins over RAF, Canadian Forces, South African Forces, and the British Army team. Their spot in the final was booked before they dropped their final group match against Australia.
In the final, the New Zealand Army team faced the ‘Mother Country’ and James Ryan led the visitors to a 6-3 victory. After the match, Ryan received the King’s Cup from King George V. And the win advanced New Zealand to play the French Army team three days later which NZ easily won 20-3.
The team was no pushover with 18 players that had either earned or would go on to earn a cap with the New Zealand All Blacks. The finished the 38 match tour of Great Britain with a record of 22 wins, 3 losses and 2 draws.