Dr Matt Marshall (1927-2018)
Dr Matt Marshall actually died over a year ago, but his passing has only just been brought to the attention of the Barbarians club.
A long-time Barbarian, the Scotland-born Marshall was a legend in Northland sporting, let alone rugby, circles. Apart from being the North Auckland team doctor for some 34 years, he was also the New Zealand team doctor at several Olympics and Commonwealth Games, and was also a life member of Sports Medicine NZ. In 2012 he was inducted as the 23rd Legend of Northland Sport. If that is not enough, Marshall was also an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Hiwi Tauroa (1927-2018)
Hiwi Tauroa died at the end of last year, but his passing was omitted in our previous obits.
He will always hold a special place in Counties rugby folklore, coaching the Steelers to the 1979 NPC title.
His first-class playing career for NZ Maori, NZ Universities, Manawatu, Taranaki and Auckland B as a fullback yielded 26 games from 1950-55. A schoolteacher by profession, he went on to be Race Relations Conciliator from 1979-86.
Frank Rogers (1924-2019)
Frank Rogers, who died in January, was not, as thought by many, the brother of the late 1974-75 Barbarians President Allen Rogers.
But he did play for the same Grammar side, captaining the club to the 1951 and ’53 Gallaher Shield titles as a rugged loose forward, and was a great mate of the late Alan McEvoy, after whom the shield for first round Auckland premier club supremacy is named.
Rogers’ first-class career was restricted, due to some stiff competition, to seven first-class games, four for Auckland B and three for the Barbarians. In later years, he was a solid supporter of Grammar, including its latest reincarnations, and enjoyed the conviviality around Barbarians bowls days.
Micky Steele-Bodger (1925-2019)
The one and only Micky Steele-Bodger, CBE, was the long-time President of the UK Barbarians.
A Cambridge University man, he was also a rugby man to his cotton socks, a fact many NZ Barbarians, including Sir Bryan Williams and Rob Fisher, can attest. It was not just the fact he was a loose forward for England, the Barbarians and Harlequins. He loved a drink and had phenomenal stamina, but was a central figure in the prominence given to UK Barbarians fixtures, not just in Britain but around the world.
Steele-Bodger was also very helpful in the signing of the trademark licence agreement between the two Barbarians clubs in 2016.
Percy Erceg (1928-2019)
Percy Erceg was another great rugby man of the north who played nine games, including four tests, for the All Blacks in 1951-52 as a wing.
He also appeared for NZ Maori, North Auckland and Auckland in a 78-game career, winning the 1951 Tom French Memorial Cup as the outstanding Maori player of that season. Erceg went on to be a selector, manager and coach of the NZ Maori team, and was a life member of the NZ Maori Rugby Board.
Jim Maniapoto (1942-2019)
‘Jim’ Maniapoto was one of three brothers – the others being Huri and Manu – who played first-class rugby in the Bay of Plenty.
Jim was the third centurion out of the union – his brother Manu was the first – racking up 105 games, for 13 tries, as a lock. But he also played for NZ Maori, Auckland, Thames Valley and NZ Colts in a long career that stretched from 1962-75.
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union chief executive and Barbarian Mike Rogers had this to say about Maniapoto: “He was a great man with great mana. He will be missed. His whanau name is synonymous with Bay of Plenty and Maori rugby.”
Sir Brian Lochore (1940-2019)
Sir Brian ‘BJ’ Lochore was one of the great men of New Zealand rugby as All Blacks No 8, coach, selector, campaign manager and mentor.
Lochore was All Black No 637, playing 25 tests (among 68 games) from 1963-71 out of Wairarapa. In the 1980s he helped Wairarapa-Bush walk proudly with the giants in the NPC first division and then coached the All Blacks from 1985-87, recording famous wins with the 1986 'Baby Blacks' and guiding the 1987 side to RWC glory. He was campaign manager for the 1995 All Blacks to the RWC in South Africa and from 2004-07 he was an All Blacks selector. A man of mana, Lochore's wisdom was always highly valued in rugby circles.
Barrie Hutchinson (1926-2019)
John ‘Barrie’ Skilbeck Hutchinson – ‘Hutch’ to all – was a great rugby man of the Auckland Rugby Union, the Auckland University Rugby Club and Varsities rugby in general.
Hutchinson was made a life member of the Auckland University club at the 2005 AGM and was also accorded life membership of the Auckland Rugby Union. Along with a stint as NZU selector, he was the Varsity club president from 1974-75 and filled the same role with the Auckland union from 1979-80.
As a player, Hutch was a solid prop or lock (a la Phil Lindesay) good enough to appear in four All Blacks trials in the 1950s. He debuted at first-class level for Auckland B in 1949. Auckland rep #819, he played 21 games for the union from 1954-59, scoring two tries for six points.
Much of the 1950s was spent travelling back and forth to Wellington, where he gained his MA from Victoria University and played for Wellington on 32 occasions out of that club. But he did find time to win at least two Gallaher Shields with Auckland University.
His playing highlight was surely the epic 1956 NZ Universities’ 22-15 win over the Springboks at Athletic Park.
He delved into coaching and led Waitemata to the 1962 Gallaher Shield title before rejoining Varsity. From 1969-72 he coached the seniors, winning the 1971 Gallaher Shield, thus cementing the rare achievement of winning a Gallaher as a player and then as coach at two different clubs. He was said to bring a cerebral, erudite approach to coaching rugby, regularly quoting poetry and Shakespeare, a forerunner to the one and only Bryce Bevin.
Ian Eliason (1945-2019)
All Black No 706, Ian ‘Legs’ Eliason played a record 222 matches for Taranaki between 1964-81, along with 19 non-test matches for his country in 1972-73.
A stalwart of the Kaponga club, which spawned the famous Crowley clan, Eliason, a farmer, played in as many as 10 All Blacks trials, and may have been unlucky not to have won more All Blacks jerseys, though he was not tall for a second-rower. It was said he left the field injured just once in his long Taranaki career for whom he gave full commitment, not the least of which was the long commute to and from rep training in New Plymouth.
Eliason was a life member of the Taranaki union and served in various administrative posts, including patron and president.
Keith Davis (1930-2019)
Halfback Keith Davis was All Black No 546, appearing on 25 occasions, including 10 tests, from 1952-58.
He was the No 9 in the Sacred Heart College First XV of the Century, named in 2003, and won a 1A title with SHC in 1948 (shared with King’s) when he was head boy.
Davis, who played 54 games for Auckland out of the Marist club, toured the Northern Hemisphere with the 1953-54 All Blacks alongside his cousin and fellow halfback Vince Bevan.
A strong involvement with the Maori All Blacks helped Davis to three Tom French Cup awards from 1952-54. In 1967 he helped coach and select the Maori team.
In 1954-55 Davis played five first-class matches for the Barbarians club.
Denis Harding (1935-2019)
Denis Harding led a full and interesting life.
While in later years, he was a keen President’s grade cricketer with Auckland’s Cornwall club, a useful golfer, senior member of the Carbine (racing) club, and a keen petanque and 500 card player, Harding was also a highly regarded ear, nose and throat surgeon.
In rugby, his high-water mark came in 1958 when, as a halfback out of the Otago University club, he played seven times for Otago, South Island Universities and won an All Blacks trial. Harding played in a strong Otago University team, which included All Blacks ‘Tuppy’ Diack and Mark Irwin, that shared the Otago club title that year.
Harding was a long-time Barbarian and something of a character around the traps, as befitting most halfbacks.
Ron Elvidge (1923-2019)
Ron Elvidge had been the oldest surviving All Black (No 454) until his death at the age of 96.
The Otago midfielder played 19 games, including 10 tests, from 1946-50, but is most famously recalled for his gutsy try, scored while badly injured and as captain, to help the All Blacks win the third test against the 1950 Lions at Athletic Park. He never played again.
Elvidge also captained Otago, playing 30 games for that union, during one of its finest eras, out of the University club.
He found further renown as one of New Zealand’s foremost gynaecologists.
His grandson Andrew Elvidge played for Canterbury, South Canterbury, Wellington, Wairarapa-Bush and NZ Universities.
Alan Montgomery (1927-2018)
For many, many years, Alan Montgomery was the club’s solicitor and only passed the baton to Bernie Allen in relatively recent times.
It was said that he turned out for Grammar in his playing days, possibly in the backline, before he joined the Auckland University club, discharging many years of service as that club’s solicitor before Mike Cormack and Bob Burnes took up the role.
Montgomery was actively involved in the purchase of ‘The House that Jack Built’ in the early 1970s and he was a cheerful, constant presence at the Barbarians right up until, and after, the time the clubhouse moved high up into the north stand at Eden Park.
He was a good communicator, a wise practitioner and successful commercial lawyer who enjoyed a punt too. He started work on the rewording of the old club constitution in the early 2010s.
Kevyn Male (1943-2018)
Successful businessman, prolific author, teacher, antique collector, long-range goalkicker, versatile forward, character of rugby.
Such were the many faces of Kevyn (KG) Male, who died in December after a long illness.
Male, who could play flanker, lock or prop, appeared 18 times for Auckland from 1964-70, scoring one try. He debuted in the same game as his Otahuhu clubmate Peter Murdoch in ’64. By that stage he had already turned out for the Centurions club and the NZ Colts. Male was known for his hard-nosed attitude on the field, but he was a softie off the pitch.
He played two first-class games for the Barbarians in 1972, by which stage he was at Grammar, winning a Gallaher Shield with that club to go with those he enjoyed at Otahuhu.
Male started up The Three Bears in Newmarket and, in 1988, Route 66. He is a past president of the Newmarket Business Association.
In the late ‘90s, he authored two entertaining books, out of 25 he penned on a raft of topics, on grassroots rugby.
His son Todd, one of three children, is a Barbarian.
Geoff Moon (1966-2019)
Geoff Moon, who died suddenly in January while doing some coaching in Italy, was one of just four men to have won both Gallaher Shield club titles and Auckland 1A First XV titles.
Two others – Sir Graham Henry and Grant Hansen – are Barbarians.
Moon was known as ‘The Godfather of south Auckland rugby’ having extensive involvement as a player and coach at schools and club level. He was especially revered at Aorere College. In 2000 he guided Otahuhu to the Gallaher Shield title, the last south Auckland club to do so.
From 2013-18 he coached the Mt Albert Grammar First XV, claiming the 2016 1A and national Top 4 titles. In 2016-17 he was also the Auckland assistant coach.
‘Moonie’ had a priceless ability to relate to everyone, including referees (!) and his funeral in January at MAGS brought rugby people from far and wide. Barbarians Eroni Clarke and Keven Mealamu were among those who paid tributes.
‘Tiumalumanaia’ Dylan Mika (1972-2018)
Like his old Manu Samoa captain Peter Fatialofa, Dylan Mika was taken too soon from us all.
One of the few to have played for both the All Blacks (1999) and Manu Samoa (1994-95) as a rangy, lineout-winning loose forward, Mika appeared in 102 first-class games, representing Auckland, Blues, Chiefs and NZ Barbarians, rounding out his career in Italy and Japan.
Made a Barbarian in recent years, such was his commitment to the club that he swiftly rose to be vice-president and was still very active on the committee, often behind the scenes, at his sudden death. Mika even had his own unofficial seat at the bar, and was always generous with his time and seeking to help those who looked lost or new to the club.
His funeral celebration at Eden Park on March 27 drew many emotional tributes, including those from Barbarians Sir Bryan Williams, John Hart, Tana Umaga and Alama Ieremia.
A successful businessmen with an endless book of contacts around the Pacific, Mika is survived by wife Tracy and young daughter Marley.
Fergie McCormick (1939-2018)
Fergie McCormick was a good All Black and one of the greats of Canterbury rugby.
His record 222 games for the union, from a durable 1958-75 career will, you can be sure under the current landscape, stand for all time.
As a goalkicking fullback out of his beloved Linwood club, McCormick played 16 tests out of 44 games for the All Blacks from 1965 to 1971. His 24 points against Wales in 1969 stood as the world record for an individual return in a test until 1982. Just 15 men have played more than his 310 first-class games and just nine have topped his haul of 2065.
In recent years, he helped coach the Canterbury and Linwood women and maintained close ties with rugby.
These quotes from McCormick’s 1976 book Fergie, with Alex Veysey, will surely strike a chord with many Barbarians.
‘You forget the All Blacks and you play every game for your club with everything you’ve got. The club is everything and any player who saves himself for something bigger is no player at all...’
‘Any fullback, or any rugby player, who can’t kick with both feet isn’t even half a player.’
Barry ‘Bear’ Thomas (1937-2018)
A fine rugby man and Barbarian has departed this mortal coil.
Known as ‘Bear’ by all rugby people, Barry Thomas was a fine player in his own right. Operating as a prop or lock, he racked up 86 games for Auckland from 1958-67, for just one try, plus nine matches for Wellington in 1964. The pinnacle of his career came via his four All Blacks tests in 1962 and ’64 against the Wallabies.
But his place in Manukau Rugby Club history is assured. He captained the 1968 Rovers to their first Gallaher Shield title under the coaching of Albie Pryor, and was still involved when they were runners-up to Grammar in 1970 and when they won their second championship in 1973. He served his club selflessly, being accorded life membership and was also prominent in Barbarians activities. As a life member of Bridge Park Bowling Club in Mangere Bridge, he was a regular at Barbarians and Pat Walsh Memorial bowls days.
Thomas was also a tennis player of note, playing Caro Bowl for Royal Oak and also representing the Manukau Rovers and Te Papapa tennis clubs.
Thomas’ family name at Manukau was continued through his sons, Greg, Michael and Stephen. They all played for Rovers. Greg was made a Barbarian in 2016. Another son, Kevin, played for the NZ Barbarians in 1985. Bear’s grandson Sam has appeared for Auckland as a hooker.
Sir Colin ‘Pinetree’ Meads (1936-2017)
The mighty ‘Pinetree’ has fallen.
One of the greatest of All Blacks greats, Meads succumbed to cancer, but not before seeing his image immortalised in bronze in his home town of Te Kuiti. The lock played 139 games for King Country and two for the Barbarians in 1973, but is most recalled for his 133 All Blacks games, including 55 tests, from 1957-71. He was named New Zealand rugby player of the (20th) century and was awarded the Steinlager Salver in 1999 for his services to rugby, which included coaching King Country, managing the All Blacks and serving on the NZRFU council and as a national selector.
His brother Stan, with whom he locked several All Blacks scrums, is also a Barbarian member.
Norm Brown (1935-2017)
Norm Brown, a five-eighths and fullback, appeared in 29 games for Auckland from 1955-60, scoring 17 points, including four tries.
In his final season with the union, 1960, he appeared at the start of one of the finest Auckland Ranfurly Shield eras. A multi-skilled and versatile operator, Brown, a gentle man by nature, also won three Gallaher Shields with his beloved University club from 1955-57, often alongside the best man at his wedding, the late Sir John Graham.
He also appeared for North Island Universities, the Barbarians club, of which he was a proud member, and New Zealand Universities. He played for the latter against the touring British and Irish Lions in 1959, while one of his most significant career moments came in 1956 when he scored a late try for Auckland against the Springboks at Eden Park in a 6-3 defeat.
His brother-in-law Bob Burnes and nephew Campbell Burnes are Barbarians, while another nephew, Chris Brown, played cricket for Auckland and is now an international umpire.
Lionel Wilson (1933-2017)
Lionel Wilson was a former Springboks fullback who later settled in New Zealand and was accorded the rare honour for a Bok of Barbarian membership.
He played 27 tests for South Africa from 1960-65, including six tests against the All Blacks. His efforts in the 1965 series saw him named by the Rugby Almanack as one of the players of the year. In 1978 he settled in Palmerston North and later Napier, where he died.
Alan Clark (1931-2017)
Alan Clark was a real rugby and cricket allrounder.
As a No 8, he scored 13 tries in 59 games for Wellington from 1952-57, one for Otago in 1958 and was a 1957 All Blacks trialist. Clark also played cricket for Otago, Wellington and Auckland and was later an Auckland cricket selector. He played Presidents grade and Golden Oldies cricket for many years with Wilson Whineray, John Sibun and Denis Harding.
In latter times, he was a season ticket holder in the Barbarians boxes.
Peter Burke (1927-2017)
All Blacks lock or No 8, All Blacks coach, President of the NZRFU, life member of New Zealand Rugby.
That is a snapshot of a lifetime of rugby for this Taranaki centurion, who made 117 appearances for his union, winning the Ranfurly Shield, alongside 12 games, including three tests for the All Blacks from 1951-57. Burke coached Taranaki and later the 1981-82 All Blacks before serving as NZRFU President in 1994 and receiving the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997.
Sir John ‘DJ’ Graham (1935-2017)
They came from far and wide in their thousands for the funeral early this month of Sir John ‘DJ’ Graham, a great man of rugby and indeed an impressive allround man.
His list of achievements is too great to list in full here, but he did play 22 tests (out of 53 matches in all) for the All Blacks from 1958-64 as a light, but smart loose forward. That he scored no less than 42 tries in 180 first-class games is testament to his ability to be in the right place at the right time.
He played his early rep rugby for Auckland and NZ Universities, and latterly Canterbury, and an early example of his leadership was evident when, as the young 21-year-old skipper of University, he refused to be cowed into playing unscheduled extra time when the Gallaher Shield decider with Otahuhu was tied at 80 minutes.
A forthright, very black and white character, Graham brought discipline and high standards to his time as Auckland Grammar School headmaster from 1973-93, as he did to his work as Auckland assistant coach in 1974-76 and 1992-94. He filled many roles within education, rugby and sport in general, and was knighted in 2011. He served terms as President of both Auckland and New Zealand Rugby.
In latter years, he enjoyed getting back to grassroots rugby with his old Auckland University club and his old school ethos was exemplified with a superb after-match speech, at his accession as patron of that club, extolling the virtues of club rugby.
Graham’s brothers, Sir Jim and Barbarian member Bob, also both played rep rugby, for Waikato and Auckland respectively.
Ness Toki (1949-2016)
Ness Toki was a small but tigerish openside flanker whose career high point was probably his display for the New Zealand Maori against the 1971 Lions at Eden Park.
On that occasion, the first-class rookie played above himself, getting in Barry John’s face and harassing the great No 10. The Maori lost, but Toki was noticed. He tackled low and was always a clean player, but did it with a smile, hence his nickname ‘The Smiling Assassin.’
He went on to play 23 first-class games until 1978, including nine games for Auckland out of the College Rifles and Suburbs clubs, the latter with whom he featured prominently in their first Gallaher Shield triumph in 1977.
Toki formed part of a loose trio that included the outstanding Glenn Rich.
His playing days effectively ended in Italy in the early 1980s at the Casale club, second home for several Suburbs players, when he was the victim of foul play.
Toki was soon giving back to the game via coaching. He took the MAGS First XV, with some success, in the late 1980s, and was the Auckland union’s coaching co-ordinator to various rep teams, including this scribe’s 1991 Auckland Schools team.
Toki’s brother Leon also appeared for New Zealand Maori and Auckland.
Nessie Toki died in December near family in Kaikohe, having shifted from west Auckland due to a degenerative illness.
Don Cameron (1933-2016)
They came from far and wide for the funeral, in September, of this proud Barbarian and great sports writer.
DJ Cameron’s name will live on in the clubrooms in Sleepy’s Corner, which houses many of his vast collection of books. Equally adept at writing on cricket or rugby, Cameron was prolific, knowledgeable, descriptive and occasionally florid with his prose. He was the Herald’s senior rugby and cricket writer for many years and made many friends both within and outside the press box.
In latter years, though his output was reduced, he still found time to enjoy a beer in the clubhouse and was a regular at the annual fun day.
Read Campbell Burnes’ tribute to DJ here: http://www.barbarianrugby.co.nz/archives.html
Bruce Scown (1936-2016)
Bruce Scown was a wing for Counties in the early days of the union.
Out of King’s College and the Papakura club, the farmer scored 18 tries in 47 games for Counties from 1955-60 and had two All Blacks trials in 1957.
The following is reproduced from the order of service:
‘I’ve been sidelined big time – hardly missed a game my whole career
Now this. The sinbin would have done – a short suspension at most.
But now I’m on the bench for good. Deselected, as they say.
Can’t the coach see a star is out? Won’t the fans be sad?
They’ll cope. The games goes on without me.
I’ll watch it from the grandest grandstand of them all.’
Laurie Woodgate (1928-2016)
At the time of his death in July, Laurie Woodgate was a life member of the Auckland Rugby Union and the Auckland Rugby Referees’ Association and one of the oldest Barbarians.
His playing days saw him prop the Northcote scrum with ‘Snow’ White in the 1950s before his work as a police inspector (which saw him awarded the QPM, Queen’s Police Medal) took him to Rotorua, where he took up the whistle, rising to be one of the top referees in Bay of Plenty. Upon his return to Auckland, he immersed himself with the referees’ association and brought an ethical, principled approach, to his work as chairman of the ARU judicial committee. In 1992 he was the ARU administrator of the year, and was ARRA president from 1987-88.
Bob Sorenson (1923-2016)
Bob Sorenson was our popular club patron, succeeding Jack Bourke in that role.
At the time of his death in May, he was one of the oldest Barbarians and a life member of the club. He was, in addition, the oldest surviving club President, having served his term in 1969-70, while he was club captain from 1954-59.
A regular in the clubrooms up until 2014, Sorenson was a gentleman, a real rugby character, and a selfless servant of the game. Out of the Marist club, he played 40 games as a fullback for Auckland from 1942-49, scoring 176 points, including seven tries, and also played two first-class games for the Barbarians in the early 1950s.
In 1964-66, he was selector/coach of Auckland, succeeding the late, great Sir Fred Allen, and took the union to Ranfurly Shield victory over Taranaki and a win over the 1965 Springboks.
‘Snow’ White (1929-2016)
Another legend of our game, Hallard Leo White, known to most as ‘Snow’, played a record 196 games for Auckland from 1949-63 as a prop, a mark that will likely never be bettered.
Born, raised and educated in Kawakawa, he was also an All Black in 16 games (including four tests) from 1953-55 and racked up 235 first-class matches.
A legendary front-row exponent, he was a tough, uncompromising, fit and skilful player. He went on to be assistant coach of Auckland, club coach at Northcote, life member of both the Northcote club (from where he was its first All Black) and Auckland union, President of the Auckland RFU and also President of the NZRU.
The word is he was not averse to having the odd crack at goal from a mark too.
“’Snow’ White was a man with a huge heart who loved rugby and always gave his time freely whenever asked to coach or help out,” recalls Barbarians President Ron Williams, himself a former All Blacks prop out of Northcote.
Bret Penman (1927-2016)
Breton Penman died in February in Auckland, but the club only discovered the news several weeks later when his daughter Yee Man Penman-Green visited the clubrooms.
A legend of the Hong Kong Football Club, Penman won a Gallaher Shield with University in 1949 – a side that was captained by Bryce Rope – before his travels as an architect, which took him to Australia and Hong Kong. He played more than 100 premier matches for the Hong Kong club, was made chairman and life member, and gave years of service until his return to New Zealand in 2009.
Penman was a long-time Barbarian member, having been inaugurated in the 1950s.
Bert Mackie (1933-2015)
Known to many as ‘Uncle Bert,’ Bert Mackie, who died in November but whose death was only recently brought to the attention of the club, was a popular and hard-working figure in Maori rugby.
Of Ngati Wai and Ngati Porou descent, Mackie started out his club rugby as wing, but then moved to prop as he came under the wing, as it were, of Johnny Simpson at the Takapuna club. A policeman in his early days, Mackie represented the Navy, Police, Combined Services, and appeared for the Barbarians. That was after serving in the Korean War. A dapper dresser, Mackie was an intense but loveable guy, qualities which always shone through in his later life as a publican and a JP.
After his playing days, he took up coaching, guiding teams at Takapuna, Ponsonby, Christchurch BHS and Lincoln University as he moved around.
A long-time Barbarian, Mackie served on the Maori Rugby Board and was manager of the 1988 New Zealand Maori on one of their last long tours, to Europe and Argentina, where a calming, diplomatic presence came in handy.
Mackie was a great supporter of Maori organisations, and spent time on the Board of Maori Affairs.
Mark Vuksich (1938-2015)
Mark Vuksich was a noted pharmacist and rugby man who died in October.
An old boy of St Peter’s College, where he skippered the First XV, Vuksich was the strapper cum masseur cum doctor for the great Auckland team of 1982-86 under the coaching of John Hart.
Hart, who was a pallbearer at his funeral, recalls a top bloke and a great servant of the Waitemata club and Auckland rugby.
“Guys acknowledge that he played a pretty important role in the evolution of the game in Auckland,” says Hart.
Vuksich was a hooker at the Grammar club before joining Waitemata where he coached in the junior grades. His late brother Ray, also a Barbarian, was Waitemata premier team manager in the 1970s.
Vuksich’s funeral drew many rugby people from all over Auckland, and Sean Fitzpatrick and David Kirk sent messages from abroad for a popular figure in their team.
His son Michael played second five for Marist and Auckland Colts.
Jonah Lomu (1975-2015)
Jonah Lomu was one of the true greats of the game.
It is not an exaggeration to say that his exploits on the left wing at the 1995 RWC in South Africa, when he was just 20, changed the game just as it was going professional. Some of his tries, that season, in particular, defied belief. He battled a kidney disorder through much of his career – in which he played for Counties Manukau, Wellington, North Harbour, the Blues, Hurricanes and Chiefs, plus the NZ Sevens – but he still scored 126 tries in 203 first-class outings and 37 tries in 63 All Blacks tests. Lomu’s feats at Wesley College, in the athletics sphere, as much as in rugby, are still talked about.
Some Barbarians still talk about an amusing event outside ‘The House that Jack Built’ some years ago in which Lomu helped Sir Wilson Whineray with a flat tyre.
He died suddenly in Auckland in November, leaving behind his wife and two sons and a towering rugby legacy. Tributes flowed freely from all over the rugby world.
Murray Tanner (1925-2015)
Rugby rep, premier club cricketer, talented musician, lawyer.
Such were the many strands to the full life of Murray Tanner.
A fullback or midfielder out of Auckland Grammar School, Tanner played 19 first-class games for Auckland B, North Island Universities and NZ Universities from 1945-52 and was perhaps unlucky not to win a cap for Auckland. He played his premier club rugby for University and his premier club cricket for Cornwall.
There is a story that he left his honeymoon to answer an SOS to go and play for the NZU.
He won national renown as a jazz musician, where his work on the trumpet was highly regarded.
Tanner was the older brother of 1950s All Black John Tanner.
Dave Dalgleish (1927-2015)
Dave Dalgleish was one of the great characters of rugby and embodied the T in Grammar TEC, newly crowned Auckland premier club champions.
He was a life member of the Teachers-Eastern club and Auckland Rugby Union, and was always a forthright and knowledgeable voice on rugby issues, among others. A teacher by trade, who played for the Teachers club, he also gave tireless service to primary schools rugby, and his hard and selfless work for the game led to a New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997.
He leaves behind wife Verleen, three children, five grandchildren and a veritable treasure trove of memorabilia in the form of a rugby programmes and books.
It is fitting that his funeral, in June, was held at Eden Park. It also needed to be held at a large venue to accommodate a large crowd. Barbarians committee member Terry Horne was the celebrant.
Charlie Bancroft (1923-2015)
They say that not even Albie Pryor could get a free beer when Charlie Bancroft was running a tight ship at the old Barbarians bar at the House that Jack Built.
Bancroft had worked as a publican and was a very efficient barman when he wasn’t busy helping out with his beloved Takapuna club, for which he was a life member. Back in the day he had helped build the Milford marina and had a distinguished military career serving in the navy, among other postings, during the Second World War.
After the war, he was part of a Takapuna front-row that included the feared Johnny Simpson, and was a great mate of Fred Allen. Bancroft went on to captain the Takapuna seniors and gave sterling service to that club. He coached the third grade team which put a joint and moving death notice in the paper after his passing last month. His grandsons Nick and Jon Elrick both played for Takapuna. The latter, a North Harbour rep, is one of the most prolific and accurate goalkickers in all club rugby.
Alan Tingle (1945-2015)
For many years, Alan Tingle was one of the first to arrive at the Navy rugby grounds for the annual fun day.
He lived down the road, and in fact played for Navy in the 1960s, but he was passionate about the game and the Barbarians. As a hard-nosed midfielder, Tingle played for NZ Services in 1969 and seven games for Auckland out of the North Shore club, later also appearing for Northcote. In later years, Tingle became a life member of the North Shore club.
Tingle was known as a real character of rugby. This from the North Shore club’s ‘Rave’ column: ‘Ting wasn’t great on taking orders and even quit as a field dresser after being told what to do on a frosty Saturday morning at the club putting the fags and goalpost pads out.’
Peter Wahlstrom (1933-2015)
Peter Wahlstrom made his early mark on rugby in the same New Plymouth Boys’ High School First XV as fellow Barbarian Sir John Graham.
Wahlstrom, a prop, went on to play for Victoria University in Wellington, but his potential rep career for the capital was foiled when he turned up late to training, coach Bill Freeman showing him the door.
By the early 1970s he was in Auckland, coaching Marist out of division two into the top flight, and taking the Auckland Colts – for whom Andy Dalton was his captain – and Bs to successful winning records. Barbarian Bryan Craies beat him to the Auckland job in 1978. Wahlstrom then had stints coaching at Teachers-Eastern and College Rifles before taking a step back in latter times to watch his son Glenn, also a Barbarian, with the whistle, and grandson Dave Thomas, who has played for Auckland. Wahlstrom senior continued his work as an accountant up to just a few weeks before his death.
George Bourke (1923-2015)
George Bourke played 16 first-class games as a prop from 1945-52 for Auckland, Auckland B and the Barbarians and was the younger brother of our former patron Jack Bourke.
Like his brother, Bourke played for Ponsonby after leaving Auckland Grammar.
A builder by trade, he commanded great loyalty and respect for his work at Fletchers Construction. A love of the sea saw him join the navy during the Second World War, and he was a keen sailor.
His son Peter Bourke told a story in his eulogy of how George and Jack Bourke propped for Auckland against the All Blacks prior to the 1949 tour of South Africa. They gave Kevin Skinner and Johnny Simpson a real hurry-up, it was said, and the selectors looked concerned.
Bourke retired when he moved to Invercargill for work, but he started his coaching career with a senior championship win with Old Boys and later in Christchurch, coached the Christchurch club senior team to the title with his great mate and fellow Barbarian, the late Ron Dobson, another Ponsonby man. He returned home to coach Auckland age group sides who were also dominant. In later years, Bourke kept in touch with the game through the Barbarians club, and only threw out his rugby boots into his 80s.
Alf Dalton (1934-2015)
Alf Dalton was a fine, attacking centre who scored 16 tries for Auckland in 33 games from 1954-58.
After coming through the Parnell junior rugby ranks, he won Auckland 1A titles in 1950-51 with the Auckland Grammar First XV before joining the Grammar club. In 1953 he won a Gallaher Shield with the club and then cracked the Auckland side the following season. One of his finest games came against Fiji in 1954 where the part-Rarotongan Dalton ran with purpose and shut down the dangerous Fijians. He also appeared in two first-class games for the Barbarians in 1955, scoring two tries.
A loyal Grammar clubman and a decent bloke to boot, he served on the committee for many years and helped organise reunions before joining the Pakuranga club later in life, having moved to Howick.
Dalton was a hatmaker and worked for Fred Allen for a time. He is survived by two sons.
Sherman Corser (1924-2015)
The club was only recently informed of the death, in January, of Sherman Corser, in Orewa, north of Auckland.
Highly respected and well liked, Corser, seen as a “quintessential rugby administrator”, was a life member of the East Coast Bays Rugby Club, and was in the thick of the formation of that North Harbour club.
East Coast Bays was born in 1946 by returned servicemen, of which Corser was one, having served in the RNZAF during the war as a radio technician in the islands. The club operated from Freyberg Park in Browns Bay from two old army huts. Corser and his wife Ivy dug and poured the foundations for the clubrooms that were built on the site.
He was the senior delegate to the ARU from 1969 until 1977, and then served as a vice-president of the ARU, but resigned when the North Harbour union was formed, as he believed the strategy was flawed. He was responsible for many years for producing the ARU match-day programmes and was press liaison officer during the 1987 Rugby World Cup.
Though Corser never played for the club, he formed and managed Bays’ first championship side, the 1967 sixth grade. The players all had to call him ‘Mr Corser’. He later served as president of the club.
Corser was also a very successful businessman, as the CEO of Korbond Industries, taking it from a small company in 1969 to a major player in haberdashery supplies.
Henry Pryor (1934-2014)
Henry Pryor died earlier in 2014 but his death was only recently
brought to the attention of the club.
Younger brother of the late, great and colourful Albie Pryor, Henry
Pryor was a well-known rugby identity in the eastern Bay of Plenty.
A stalwart of the Matata club, whom he served in a variety of roles,
including chairman, Pryor was also a member of the Wasps club.
Known as 'Babes', being the youngest of the Pryor boys, Pryor was
mostly a flanker, but ended his career as a prop. Though he came
close to making the Bay of Plenty side, he had to content himself
with fierce on-field battles with his brothers, who often played
for other clubs. Upon retirement, he coached at both senior and
junior level at Matata and also at the Taneatua club. He was a butcher
by trade, like Albie, but worked as farmer, as a lands and survey
officer, and ran a Maori language radio station in Auckland for
a time. Pryor gave long service to Maori rugby, both in Bay of Plenty
and in New Zealand, serving on the board. In later years, he was
the kaumatua for the Maori Sports Awards, for which Albie was a
Peter Henderson (1926-2014)
Peter 'Sammy' Henderson was one of the fastest men to ever lace
an All Black boot, being the national sprint champion for 1949.
An All Black out of Wanganui and the Kaierau club, Henderson played
19 games, including seven tests for the All Blacks in 1949-50, scoring
His try in the 1950 fourth test against the Lions at Eden Park
has gone down in rugby lore, largely due to the spectacular photo
of an airborne Henderson diving for the tryline. But he also pulled
off a crucial trysaving tackle on Bleddyn Williams in that clash.
In later years, Henderson lived in Tauranga, and even drove to
Wanganui for that union's 125th jubilee in 2012.
The following is a true story relating to Henderson, supplied by
one of our members:
'About 10-12 years ago, a middle-aged group of six former rugby
players were having a golf weekend at a country club in the Waikato
area. Late in the night, at the bar, the six started upon a sports
quiz. The arguments and questions carried on incessantly, resulting
in the other bar patrons, bored stiff, retiring to bed. The six
continued the quiz with the golf club barman meeting their quenching
'Someone then put up the question: 'Name the All Blacks backline
in the fourth test v the Lions in 1950.' The arguments mounted over
the various suggestions and assertions. Then the group turned to
the barman and asked: 'Well, do you know who made up that backline?'
As quick as a flash came the response: 'Vince Bevan, Laurie Haig,
John Tanner, Roy Roper, Bill Meates on one wing, Bob Scott at fullback...
and me!' At that point it was understood, and Peter Henderson, the
barman, told them to bugger off to bed.'
Kevin Barry (1936-2014)
Barry was more than just a great man of rugby.
He was a great man and all of the many who attended his large funeral
The following is a transcript of the eulogy delivered at his funeral
by one of his sons and fellow Barbarian, Mike Barry. It is worth
reproducing in full, with thanks to Mike.
KE Barry and his rugby philosophy
To Kevin Barry, the game of rugby was all about life and through
the playing of this great game, the development of one's character.
It was never about ability, rep teams or higher honours. It was
about how the solid values of a team sport could mould and develop
a person: self-discipline, co-operation, loyalty, modesty, selflessness,
friendship, dignity, leadership, respect, courtesy and courage.
These were qualities Dad possessed in abundance and that he developed
in everyone who was fortunate enough to be coached or taught by
Those values would materialise into a series of simple instructions:
Never swear on the field or at training.
Forwards don't kick.
There's no room for show-offs, nor any room for bangles, ear-rings,
necklaces, coloured boots or silly hair-dos.
Forwards don't kick.
The referee is to be addressed as Sir, and don't you ever talk back.
You may smile, pat your mate on the back after a try, but never
a fist-pump or a melodramatic display of excitement.
If you ever play away from home, always be polite and take flowers
for the ladies in the kitchen.
Don't be late.
There's no place for high-fives. Shake a man's hand firmly and look
him in the eye.
Forwards don't kick.
The team always come first and you are a very distant second.
And if I'm talking, don't fidget, listen.
Barry was the son of an All Black - Ned - and the father of an All
Black - Liam. His provincial days are best remembered for the fact
he played for three provinces - Auckland, Counties and Thames Valley.
For the latter, he was part of the greatest day in that small union's
history, when in 1962 it beat Australia in Te Aroha. A loose forward/lock,
Barry played 23 matches for the All Blacks from 1962-64, firstly
out of the Paeroa West club, but with no tests.
A proud and active Barbarian who taught at Rosmini College (though
his schooling was at Sacred Heart), Barry was president of the club
from 1986-87, and he was the manager of the famous 1987 touring
side to the UK, who wowed the crowds with their open, Barbarian
Allen Rogers (1921-2014)
Allen Rogers was the oldest Barbarian at the time of his death.
He was the club president (1974-75) when the club moved into The
House that Jack Built, and also served as secretary, being a trained
accountant. Rogers' playing days were in Wellington, where he played
for the province out of the Hutt club, and for Auckland B out of
the Grammar club as a side-row forward. He played a first-class
game for the Barbarians in 1954. Highly respected and liked by all
Barbarians who knew him, he is no relation of fellow Barbarian Frank
Barry Bracewell (1929-2014)
Barry Bracewell was one of the great coaches in Counties rugby
It was his blueprint for the game as coach of Counties in two separate
stints ending in 1975 that paved the way for the union to clinch
the 1979 NPC, its first and last first division title. He was also
a first-rate selector who had the foresight to switch Bruce Robertson
and Peter Goldsmith to their rightful positions. Bracewell started
out as a prop who played 26 games for Auckland out of the Marist
club from 1950-54. A family man (having six children) with very
strong values, Bracewell owned a construction business which he
then sold to one of his sons.
Kevin Skinner (1927-2014)
Kevin Skinner was regarded by many as one of the finest All Blacks
props over 63 games and 20 tests from 1949-56.
He played his rugby for Otago out of the Pirates club and for Counties
out of the Waiuku club, and was the New Zealand heavyweight boxing
champion in 1947, a fact which contributed strongly to his status
as "a hard man." Skinner was famously recalled to the
1956 All Blacks who needed a more physical presence in the front-row
against the Springboks.
Peter Devlin (1933-2014)
The extent of Peter Devlin's rugby-playing days was for his Christian
Brothers' High School in Dunedin.
But he made his mark on the game through his rugby journalism and
writing, both for the Otago Daily Times and the now defunct Auckland
Star, and was made a Barbarian in his 60s. In his latter days, he
could often be found at the regular Auckland University Rugby Club
Thursday evening 'choir practice' along with fellow Barbarians Bob
Burnes, Don Cameron and Bruce Gemmell.
Eric Anderson (1931-2014)
Eric Anderson played 10 games as a prop for the 1960 All Blacks
to Australia and South Africa, but was mainly a lock for Bay of
Plenty in 26 games from 1956-61.
One of the founders of the Wasps club in Bay of Plenty, Anderson
was a BOP selector in the 1970s and coached the union to the inaugural
NPC title in 1976. A meat buyer and farmer, Anderson was also president
of the BOP union in 1993-94.
Frank Oliver (1948-2014)
Frank Oliver was a 43-match, 17-test All Blacks lock between 1976
and '81 and played for three provinces - Southland, Otago and Manawatu
- in a 15-year first-class career.
Oliver captained the All Blacks in three tests against Australia
in 1978 and was a key figure in the controversial 13-12 victory
over Wales on the Grand Slam tour later that year. A no-nonsense,
hard-nosed forward, he was part of the 1980-NPC winning Manawatu
From 1994-2001, he was a prominent coach in New Zealand rugby,
taking the NZ Under 19s (1994), Manawatu and the Central Vikings.
At Super Rugby level, he was at the helm of the Hurricanes from
1996-99 and the Blues in 2001.
Oliver died in Palmerston North in March. His son Anton, another
former All Blacks captain, is also a Barbarian.
John Pring (1927-2014)
John Pring was a top-class referee who took the whistle in eight
All Blacks tests from 1966-72.
But his first-class career began back in 1955 with an Auckland
v North Auckland appointment and finished at the age of 52 in 1980
after 77 games. That figure of 77 has been passed by just 17 Kiwi
whistlers. He was referee in all four tests of the 1971 All Blacks-Lions
series, a time he saw as his career highlight, saying the Lions
were one of the most professional sides he had seen, under the captaincy
of John Dawes and manager Doug Smith. Known as a quiet, intelligent
man, Pring was widely liked and respected.
A bank officer and accountant by trade, Pring was awarded an MBE
in 1979 for services to sport and was the president of the New Zealand
Rugby Referees' Association in 1988.
Murray Reid (1938-2014)
The Barbarians lost one of their great men when Murray Reid died
in January, leaving behind a playing and administrative record stretching
back to the late '50s.
A quick look at his playing career might indicate otherwise...
24 matches for Auckland from 1960-62 before injury took him from
the playing field.
The tall and talented young fellow who left Whakatane to try his
luck in Auckland in 1958 brought with him physical talent, eagerly
measured by Freddy Allen and a way-out sense of contagious humour
from his friendship with Terry Sheehan, the legendary spin-doctor
Allen was searching for a lock to replace Kel Tremain, due to tour
South Africa in 1960. One favoured candidate was the Takapuna giant
Don Bacon, perhaps more powerful than young Reid. But Bacon contracted
the worst illness a lock could suffer - a big boil on the butt -
and Allen had to call Reid into a squad with a three-match preparation
for the Ranfurly Shield defences ahead. The second of these was
away against Wanganui and very likely.
Allen wore a worried frown as his pack struggled against a modest
Wanganui scrum and lineout. Then, 20 minutes or so after halftime,
Reid grabbed the ball and with power and surprising speed he broke
tackle after tackle and finished a 30-40 yard burst with a try between
the posts. The old sweats reckoned Auckland must have a hard-core
pack, and Reid had won his spurs - Lew Fell, Reid, Barry Thomas,
Clive Currie, 'Snow' White, Geoff Perry, with Bob Graham and Waka
Nathan as the rovers.
Reid did well with 10 matches in his first year, eight in his second,
but only six in his third as a run of injuries - gaining him the
nickname of 'Chalky' - finished his first-class career. Reid was
such a regular caller at the Middlemore Hospital that they asked
him to stay away; he had already filled one large cupboard with
his injury reports.
When Terry Sheehan produced a menu for a special Barbarians dinner
recalling the Ranfurly Shield win in Southland in 1959, he praised
"Robert the Blue (Bob Graham) who would leave the wenching,
singing, dancing and drinking at the campfire to go and visit brave
little 'Chalky Reid' who always broke something in battle."
Fortunately, Reid did not turn up his Barbarian toes after so many
injuries and setbacks, and instead worked his way up the Baabaas
organisation from member to committee man, to chairman, to president
and on to life member. - DJ Cameron
Barry Beazley (1927-2014)
Northland rugby has lost one its stalwarts and life members with
the passing of 1948-58 wing Barry Beazley.
A long-time Barbarian, Beazley played his rugby out of the Old
Boys club in Whangarei and emerged during a successful period for
North Auckland, as it was then known. He was part of the side that
won the Ranfurly Shield for the first time, with a 20-9 victory
over South Canterbury in 1950, scoring a try, as did centre Johnny
Smith. A big, fast wing with a long stride not dissimilar, it was
said, to the late Auckland wing and Barbarian Lyn Russell, Beazley
scored three more Shield tries and 19 in all from his 59 games for
the union. He also appeared in the 9-8 defeat of Australia in 1958.
Furthermore, he played 12 games on two tours for the New Zealand
Maori in 1949 and '52, and his fellow wing in many games for both
New Zealand Maori and North Auckland, Percy Erceg, believes with
an ounce of luck he could have cracked the All Blacks, though he
did appear for North Island and in All Blacks trials. He also scored
three first-class tries for the Barbarians from 1952-54.
A quiet, family man, Beazley managed the North Auckland team from
1964-82, often under his old coach Ted Griffin.
Peter Fatialofa (1959-2013)
The bare record of Peter Fatialofa's career does little justice
to the impact this remarkable piano-moving prop had on Samoan, Auckland
and New Zealand rugby over a period of 30 years.
There were 70 games for Auckland from 1984-92 out of his beloved
Ponsonby club, 18 games for Counties from 1994-96 out of Manurewa,
and a test for the World XV in 1992 against the All Blacks. He was
not far off cracking the 1988 All Blacks. But he is best remembered
in 34 tests for Manu Samoa from 1988-96, in which he was at the
heart of Samoa's rebirth as a rugby power, notably at RWC 1991 as
skipper. His playing and ambassadorial skills were vital to the
cause and contributed to his MNZM in 1996 for services to rugby.
In the coaching ranks, Fatialofa guided the East Tamaki club, King
Country in the NPC and also the Manusina women's team. The eldest
of his eight children Jeremiah also played for Counties Manukau
as a prop.
Read Campbell Burnes' tribute to Fatialofa at www.barbarianrugby.co.nz/peterfatialofa
Ian Irvine (1929-2013)
Ian Irvine holds a special place in North Auckland rugby history.
He was the hooker when the province wrested the Ranfurly Shield
off South Canterbury in 1950. Irvine played 31 times for the union
from 1949-53 out of the Old Boys club and his one All Blacks test
came in 1952 against Australia. He was following in the footsteps
of his father Bill Irvine, a 1920s All Black and one of the 1924-25
Invincibles. His brother Bob was a noted rugby broadcaster. He stayed
heavily involved in rugby after his retirement and helped in the
formation of the Northland Vikings. In 2000, Irvine was awarded
an MNZM for services to the disabled.
Peter McKay (1923-2013)
The death of Peter McKay on June 5, 2013, aged 89, was not recorded
in our August newsletter.
McKay was a fine attacking centre good enough to play 20 first-class
games from 1945-49, including 12 for Auckland, two All Blacks trials
and one for the Barbarians. A good friend of the late Murray Menzies,
McKay, whose given names were Robert Pallister, was a key cog in
the 1948 Gallaher Shield-winning Ponsonby team. A compositor in
the printing industry, even the amputation of a leg later in life
due to his diabetes did not stop the McKay smile and quick repartee,
not to mention his undying support for the Ponies club.
Jack 'Snow' Nuttall (1920-2009)
The death of Jack 'Snow' Nuttall on May 3, 2009, aged 88, has only
just been brought to the attention of the club.
A real character who enjoyed a gin and tonic, Nuttall was a Ponsonby
front-rower, supporter and team manager before and after the Second
World War. He fondly recalled a Ponsonby club reunion held in Cairo
during the war. He enjoyed surfing at Piha and was a friend of the
late Tom Pearce. Nuttall was made a Barbarian in 1973.
Pat Sheahan (1927-2013)
Marist Rugby Club and the Barbarians formed the cornerstones of
'Red' Pat Sheahan's rugby life.
Sheahan, schooled at St Peter's College, played for Marist as a
prop, winning a Gallaher Shield in 1950, and made his sole appearance
for Auckland as captain against Waikato in 1954. He was integral
in the Marist 1960s shift to what became known as Liston Park, and
he also helped donate the Dave Grace Memorial Trophy, played for
between the Marist and University clubs. Sheahan served as president
of the Marist club and was subsequently awarded life membership.
In 1975 he was invited to join the Barbarians club, for whom he
always had the highest regard. It was fitting that a large wake
was held for him in the Barbarians clubrooms.
Away from rugby, he was an outstanding rower, being part of an
Auckland Rowing Club eight that won a national title in 1946. He
was also a generous host of the old Globe Hotel.
Laly Haddon (1939-2013)
Laly Haddon had the misfortune to be showing his wares as a speedy,
tough No 8 at the same time as Brian Lochore was in his pomp for
the All Blacks.
Haddon played 77 games for North Auckland from 1963-73 and made
his mark in 23 matches for New Zealand Maori from 1964-73. He had
just one All Blacks trial, in 1966. His 8-9 combination at the scrumbase
with Sid Going was a key cog in the rugged North Auckland sides
of that era.
Haddon started his career as a wing, and moved into the pack with
no loss of speed. A farmer, he led a very full life after rugby,
serving as a Rodney county councillor, and kaumatua for the Leigh
and Pakiri areas. It was said he was the "self-appointed mayor
of Pakiri." His conservation work earned him a QSM. Haddon
died in July after a long battle with cancer.
Ross Nicholson (1922-2013)
Rugby players of today, and indeed back in the day, owe a debt
of gratitude to the sterling, ground-breaking work done by Ross
Nicholson, regarded as one of the founders of modern orthopaedic
medicine in this country.
Nicholson played for the Grammar club after he left Auckland Grammar
School, but he was to make his greatest mark as the honorary medical
officer for the New Zealand and Auckland unions. If any prominent
player had a shoulder, knee or joint problem from the 1950s to the
'80s, there was a high chance Nicholson would have had a hand in
the surgery or rehab. Dedicated to his craft, he was often the doctor
on duty at Eden Park rep and test matches, and mentored top sports
physicians such as fellow Barbarian Barry Tietjens. Racing was Nicholson's
other great passion, and he regularly gave medical advice at the
Auckland Racing Club in Ellerslie.
Bryce Rope (1923-2013)
Bryce Rope coached the All Blacks in 1983-84 but had already been
a long-time selector/coach for the New Zealand Universities, rising
up the ranks to be a North Island and All Blacks selector and national
sevens coach. In his playing days as a loose forward in the 1940s
and '50, Rope appeared for Auckland (13 games) and the NZU. That
was after he had served in the Air Force during the Second World
A life member of the Auckland University RFC, Rope was president
of the club from 1965-67 and also coached the seniors. As All Blacks
coach, he promoted the likes of John Kirwan, Jock Hobbs and Warwick
His son Derek, also a Barbarian, is the general manager of the
College Rifles Rugby and Sports Club. A poignant memorial evening
for Bryce and also the late Murray Menzies was held at the club
Les Deas (1923-2013)
An Auckland Rugby Union and Teachers and Teachers-Eastern RFC life
member, Les Deas put in a power of work for the game over many years.
As a swift centre, he played for Auckland and Otago in the 1940s
before his rugby involvement morphed into coaching Teachers and
Training College teams. Teaching was Deas' vocation and he became
a schools inspector. He served as the ARU delegate for the Teachers
and then Teachers-Eastern clubs for no less than 30 years (1956-86).
In 1987 he was one of the go-to men in Auckland's organisation of
the inaugural Rugby World Cup. Deas' brother Ken was a New Zealand
cricket selector and served on the old Eden Park board of control.
Les Deas loved a good debate and was a fine rugby character.
Bill Freeman (1922-2013)
Regarded by many as unlucky not to succeed Fred Allen as All Blacks
coach in 1969, Bill Freeman was one of the more astute rugby thinkers
and coaches in New Zealand.
His senior rugby career started at Wellington's Petone club and
he played seven games for Wellington from 1942-44, but it was as
coach of the province that Freeman truly made his mark from 1964-70,
taking the prized scalps of the Springboks in 1965 and the touring
Lions the following year. An NZRFU councillor from 1973-86, he became
the national coaching director. A life member of the Wellington
union, he was awarded a QSM in 1990 for services to the community.
Some of his coaching phrases have passed into the rugby lexicon,
such as 'A coach must innovate to motivate' and 'Kick to land, not
Lyn Russell (1933-2013)
Until the advent of the prolific Terry Wright in the 1980s, the
Auckland tryscoring record was held by Lyn Russell. His mark of
66 tries in close to 100 games from 1952-61 stood for over quarter
of a century. A talented athlete and softballer, Russell made his
first-class debut at just 17 and appeared several times for the
Barbarians. A three-time All Blacks trialist, he was perhaps unlucky
to miss out on the 1953-54 All Blacks tour of Britain and France.
Far from idle after his playing days, Russell, who established a
steel and wire manufacturing business, wrote and broadcast on rugby
and was the North Harbour union's first director of coaching in
Murray Menzies (1926-2013)
Murray Menzies loved his rugby, racing, bowls and beer, and was
always ready with a forthright argument.
After being head boy at Seddon Tech, Menzies, as a versatile footballer
out of the Ponsonby club, played 27 official matches for Auckland
from 1949-56. Mainly a loose forward, he could also play midfield
or fullback, not to mention kick goals. As a player, he won two
Gallaher Shields with Ponies, in 1948 and '54, before taking up
coaching the club. After serving on the committee there, he was
made a life member.
One of the drivers for 'The House that Jack Built' on Cricket Avenue,
Menzies was a highly respected Barbarian who served as club president
He and his wife Avis had a large family. His grandson Ray junior,
a flanker, played over 100 premier games for East Coast Bays and
was, at one, point, even player-coach.
Geoff Burton (1923-2013)
Geoff Burton was a likeable, astute rugby man who was a life member
of the Auckland Rugby Referees' Association.
His refereeing days spanned 1950-95, so he was into his 70s when
he hung up the whistle. Regarded as the first of the 'players' referees',
Burton's rep career as a whistler was from 1959-68. He served as
the president of the Auckland Rugby Referees' Association in 1967-68
and was, in 1973, president of the national referees association.
Burton kept himself fit by jogging in the Auckland Domain every
His brother Jack played two games for Auckland (in 1948) and also
represented Auckland and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) at cricket. Geoff
was also a stalwart of the Auckland University Cricket Club and
one of the drivers in getting the great offspinner Jim Laker to
come to Varsity in 1951.
Bob Scott (1921-2012)
The bare stats of Bob Scott's All Blacks career do not convey his
greatness as one of the top three or four best fullbacks in New
Zealand rugby history.
His 17 tests stretched from 1946-54 and came on the back of his
brilliant play for the famous 1945-46 Kiwis Army side. A superb
allround player who could kick with either foot, slot goals and
break the line, Scott was an All Black out of the Ponsonby club,
though he finished his career with Wellington's Petone.
At the time of his death, he had been the oldest living All Black.
And even up until last year, he thought nothing of driving from
his Whangamata home to Auckland and back again to partake in some
social occasion or appear on TV. He brought the house down at the
clubrooms in February 2011 when the Barbarians toasted his 90th
birthday. After some gentle prodding, he removed his right shoe
and sock to show all the famous foot that could land goals, barefooted,
In the introduction to his 1956 biography with Terry McLean, Scott
wrote: "I should like to say how much I have admired the work
of such organisations as the Barbarians club... Their adventurous
approach to the playing of the game provides a stimulus that it
Rugby is a game for gentlemen in
all classes but for no bad sportsman in any class.
Rt Reverend W J Casey, 1894