The International Rugby Union team, on their controversial visit to South Africa, won the first of three exhibition matches on July 23.
GVs Invitation team running onto field followed by Natal side (3 shots)
GV Game in progress
GV Rugby from Britain watching match
GV Scrum, crowd watching, game in progress (4 shots)
GV Bernie Fraser of New Zealand scores try
GVs Players coming off field; fans running onto field
SPORT: RUGBY UNION
NOTE TO EDITORS: THIS STORY HAS COMMENTARY BY BBC REPORTER PHILIP HAYTON WHICH MAY BE USED IF REQUIRED.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The International Rugby Union team, on their controversial visit to South Africa, won the first of three exhibition matches on July 23. The side, known as the Invitation XV, defied an international boycott on the tour, which was made to help celebrate the Western Province Rugby Union's one hundredth anniversary. They comprise players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, as well as top players from France and New Zealand. The first exhibition match was played at Kings Park against Natal in the province's capital, Durban. It was watched by a 30-thousand-strong capacity crowd who clearly appreciated the chance of seeing an international match -- a rare spectacle now in South Africa. The Natal players also relished the game. Since international bans were imposed on sporting links with South Africa, they have been starved of contact with some of the world's best sportsmen. The international Rugby Union team accepted their South African invitation amid a storm of protest from opponents to apartheid who claim such matches merely boost white morale and impede progress towards integrated sport. Team members have argued that their visit can only help encourage eventual change in the country. The match was marked by a masterful performance from New Zealand All black, Bernie Fraser, who scored the visitors' first two tries and two more in the second half. The final score was Natal 23, Invitation XV 30.