It was almost a century ago when the 1924 New Zealand All Blacks took a break from their rugby preparations to go sightseeing in Monmouthshire.

On a tour conducted by Councillor Geo Boots, whose friends and associates provided cars, the party passed through Caerwent, Chepstow, Usk and Monmouth.

The South Wales Argus of October 2 reports that the men were most impressed by the Roman relics, including the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, and they enjoyed taking their time walking around Tintern Abbey.

They then went on to Monmouth School, dating back to 1614, where Mr Boots informed his visitors that this is where R B Griffiths, the player who scored Newport’s points against the 1905 All Blacks, was educated.

When it was time to leave, the excited school pupils directed loud cheers at the New Zealanders as a mark of respect.

It is the intricate detail of these events that make author Roger Penn’s recent book, Wales and the All Blacks – an off-field History (an update of his earlier Three Feathers and a Silver Fern) a popular read.

Roger, a native from Whitland, West Wales – a former player, Welsh Rugby Union referee, life-time admirer of the All Blacks and spectator when Ian Kirkpatrick’s men lost to Llanelli and the Barbarians in the 1970s – shifts his focus from the nitty-gritty of play to the delights and curiosities of the off-field activities surrounding all matches played by the All Blacks in Wales from the first encounter in Cardiff in1905.

“I spent five weeks in New Zealand,” says Roger, “arriving in September 2012 for the Investec Rugby Championship.

“On my travels across both islands, I got close to the All Blacks and was fortunate to chat with players past and present.

“Wherever I went the welcome was terrific – and I am most grateful also for the information I gained from the city libraries, archives and museums across the country. I am also thrilled by the book’s success.”

Newly enhanced with an additional chapter and re-styled in a smart, eye-catching jacket, the volume is, according to the game’s proven experts, “a terrific read.”

With a Foreword from the legendary fullback J.P.R. Williams and recommended by Sir Gareth Edwards, the book is now being sent out into the world by publishers Y Lolfa of Talybont, Ceredigion, as far as Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand, to Nationwide Book Distributors. Available at mainstream bookshops and online, this is a book rugby lovers will enjoy reading and talking about.