The most notable among a short list of rugby songs, "On The Ball," is now over 100 years old. It was written by E W Secker, a former pupil and Ist XV player at Palmerston North Boys' High School, the first of three Secker generations to attend this celebrated rugby school. The 1905 All-Blacks (shown above) are supposed to have taken the song on tour with them, and included it in their musical repertoire.

The song goes:


Oh some talk of cricket and some of lacrosse,

Some long for the huntsman's loud call;

But where can be found such a musical sound

As the old Rugby cry, "On the Ball"?



On the ball, on the ball, on the ball,

Through scrummage, three-quarters and all.

Sticking together we keep on the leather,

And shout as we go, "On the Ball!"


On a cold wintry day when the ball is away,

Let sluggards at home then remain.

We'll kick and we'll follow, we'll run, pass and collar

As we shout the same merry refrain.


This life's but a scrimmage we cannot get through,

But with many a kick and a blow.

And then at the end, though we dodge and we fend,

Still that sure collar "Death" takes us low.


But although we're brought down there remains still a chance

To pass, if we play the right game.

And the poor weary soul may at last win the goal

Which is every true footballer's aim.


Remember, then, boys as we journey through life,

There's a goal to be reached by and by.

And he who runs true - why he's bound to get through,

And perhaps kick a goal from his try.