New Plymouth kicks off 2010 Capping Ceremonies     10 Jun 2010    

The careers of those players being capped at New Plymouth’s Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace, this Friday night span from one of the oldest surviving All Blacks, outside back Roy Roper who made his Test debut in 1949, to fullback and Taranaki RFU Life Member Kieran Crowley, who played at two Rugby World Cups.

Wanganui halfback and 1980’s All Black Andrew Donald will line up alongside 16 former Taranaki players to be presented their caps by Acting NZRU Chairman Mike Eagle.

Also among those being awarded caps are Taranaki’s Peter Burke, who after his playing career went on to become an All Blacks selector and coach and serve as NZRU President before being made an NZRU Life Member, and Graham Mourie – a current NZRU Board member who captained the All Blacks in 19 tests including the team’s first ever successful Grand Slam tour in 1978.

Some of the newly-capped players will be acknowledged again at Saturday’s Test match at New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium, forming a guard of honour to welcome the All Blacks and Irish teams to the field.

The New Plymouth event is a continuation of a New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) initiative launched in late 2008 to formally present more than 400 former All Blacks or their families with Test caps earned in the decades following World War II. This week’s event will be followed by ceremonies prior to Investec Tri Nations matches in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

New Plymouth Capping Ceremony

The following All Blacks, or their family representatives, will receive caps at the Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace in New Plymouth.

Player & Province^ Debut All Blacks v Venue
Roy Roper (Taranaki) 24 Sept 1949 Australia Auckland
George Beatty (Taranaki)* 27 May 1949 British Isles Dunedin
Peter Burke (Taranaki) 24 Aug 1955 Australia Wellington
Ross Brown (Taranaki) 17 Sept 1955 Australia Auckland
Roger Urbahn (Taranaki)* 18 July 1959 British Isles Dunedin
Kevin Briscoe (Taranaki)* 15 Aug 1959 British Isles Wellington
Terry O’Sullivan (Taranaki) * 25 June 1960 Sth Africa Johannesburg
Neil Wolfe (Taranaki) 22 July 1961 France Auckland
John Major (Taranaki) 19 Aug 1967 Australia Wellington
Alan Smith (Taranaki) 31 May 1969 Wales Christchurch
Alistair Scown (Taranaki) 19 Aug 1972 Australia Wellington
Ashley Gardiner (Taranaki) 8 Sept 1974 Australia Sydney
John McEldowney (Taranaki) 30 July 1977 British Isles Dunedin
Graham Mourie (Taranaki) 30 July 1977 British Isles Dunedin
Murray Watts (Taranaki) 7 July 1979 France Christchurch
Andrew Donald (Wanganui) 12 Nov 1983 Scotland Edinburgh
Kieran Crowley (Taranaki) 21 June 1985 England Christchurch

^ Province refers to the province the player was playing for at the time of their Test debut.
* Family members of those players who have passed away will collect the caps on their behalf.

About All Blacks Test caps
A player’s first appearance in a Test match for the All Blacks has traditionally been rewarded with a Test cap. However, along with international rugby itself, the capping tradition was interrupted by the Second World War and was not re-introduced until June 1997. In December 2008, the New Zealand Rugby Union announced it would hold a series of events in 2009 , 2010 and, if necessary, 2011, to cap more than 400 former All Blacks who did not receive their caps during that period.