A ‘David and Goliath’ rugby clash between the All Blacks and Munster takes to the stage

By Gill Canning

Alone it Stands
Alone it Stands Credit: Prudence Upton
Six actors must play 10 roles each in this true-life tale of sporting history.

New Zealand’s mighty All Blacks are the greatest rugby team in the world … or are they? Back in 1978, the Kiwis were on an all-conquering rugby tour of Britain. They won every one of their 17 matches against the national teams of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. And then on Tuesday, 31 October, they came up against Munster, an amateur Irish team whose total team weight was a fraction of that of the towering All Blacks. When these mismatched teams (both in size and reputation) took to the field, not many of the 14,000 fans watching the game doubted the outcome…

Alone it Stands

Alone It Stands, a play written about this historic battle, is currently on stage at Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre. On a small set that must recreate a rugby field as well as many other settings, a cast of six play a total of 62 parts, including the Munster and All Blacks players and coaches, their fans and family members, and a gang of kids. It could easily be chaotic but the actors’ skill for quickly swapping characters without so much as a costume change is impressive. And to my (admittedly) Australian ear, their various Irish and New Zealand accents are top-notch!

Alone it stands

Hilarious and Humbling 

You don’t have to be a rugby fan to enjoy this very funny play (I most definitely am not). The play is about believing in the impossible, being true to your passions, love of family, country, friends and partners, and yes, there is a bit of rugby. I was astonished at the number of rugby plays and moves these four men and two women had to commit to memory – it is a mighty feat. Much like the Munster team’s back on Halloween, 1978  – when a bit of magic must have been in the air.  

Alone It Stands

Ensemble Theatre

Until 2 March, 2024



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