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Capping ceremony to honour former All Blacks

allblacks.com     02 Aug 2011    

All Blacks twins Gary (All Blacks debut 1981) and brother AJ Whetton (1984) are the only twins to play for the All Blacks and join Northland’s Eddie (1979) and Ian Dunn (1983) in a select group of 41 brothers.

Thirteen surviving former All Blacks will be presented with their Test cap and caps will also be presented to the family members of seven former All Blacks at the All Blacks Reunion dinner at the Langham Hotel, Auckland on Friday 5 August.

This 2011 capping ceremony continues the NZRU initiative launched in 2008 to formally present more than 400 former All Blacks or their family members with Test caps earned in the decades following World War II. So far 318 caps have been presented.

NZRU Board Chairman Mike Eagle welcomed the continuation of the tradition to mark a player’s first appearance as an All Black.

“It is fantastic that we will be presenting caps to 20 former All Blacks who have 236 Tests between them, including Walter Little’s (1990) half century and Gary Whetton’s outstanding achievement of 58 Tests,” he added.

“The response to recognising the tradition from former All Blacks and the families of former All Blacks has been wonderful,” he added.

The All Blacks’ debuts span 45 years. The earliest recipient, loose forward Neville Thornton (1947) played for the Kiwi Army team of 1945-46 before his three Tests for the All Blacks. The latest, prop Graham Dowd (1992) played one Test and spent much of his All Blacks career as hooker understudy to Sean Fitzpatrick.

Fittingly, ahead of the All Blacks v Australia Test, the list includes a halfback nicknamed ‘Wallaby.’ Queensland born Des Connor played for Australia before moving to Auckland and making his All Blacks debut in 1961. After 12 Tests he returned to Australia where he became Coach and Selector of the national team.

Loose forward Peter Jones (1954) was made famous after a 30 metre run to the tryline against the Springboks at Eden Park in 1956. He also entered rugby folklore when responding to a question after that historic series win “How did he feel?” Jones responded unaware he was being broadcast nationally “I’m absolutely buggered”.

Auckland first-five eighth, the late Nicky Allen (1980) played just two All Blacks Tests but is credited with possessing rare skills that transformed his position and lit up the game. Tragically Allen died in Australia at just 26 years of age in 1984.

Bay of Plenty’s Gary Braid (1983), is also the father of two successful rugby brothers. Both flankers, Daniel has played six Tests for the All Blacks and both he and Luke play for the Blues.

Ten Test fullback and high profile author Joe Karam (1972) is also among the players being capped.

Former NZRU Chairman Jock Hobbs (1983) was capped at a ceremony at NZRU’s headquarters in Wellington last week. Mr Hobbs chose to celebrate with close family, friends and the NZRU staff he has worked with for many years.

Some of the newly-capped players will be acknowledged again at Saturday’s Test match at Auckland’s Eden Park, forming a guard of honour to welcome the All Blacks and Australia to the field.

AUCKLAND CAPPING CEREMONY

The following All Blacks, or their family representatives, will receive caps at the Langham Hotel in Auckland.

Player Province Debut All Blacks v Venue
Neville Thornton* Auckland June 1947 Australia Brisbane
Peter Jones* North Auckland Jan 1954 England London
John Buxton* Canterbury Sep 1955 Australia Auckland
Raymond Cossey* Counties Aug 1958 Australia Wellington
Desmond Connor Auckland Jul 1961 France Auckland
Bruce McLeod* Counties Aug 1964 Australia Dunedin
Joseph Karam Wellington Dec 1972 Wales Cardiff
Joseph Morgan* North Auckland Jun 1974 Australia Sydney
Edward Dunn North Auckland Nov 1979 Scotland Edinburgh
Lachlan Cameron Manawatu Jul 1980 Australia Sydney
Nicholas Allen* Counties Jul 1980 Australia Sydney
Fred Woodman North Auckland Aug 1981 South Africa Christchurch
Gary Whetton Auckland Sep 1981 South Africa Auckland
Ian Dunn Northland Jun 1983 British & Irish Lions Christchurch
Gary Braid Bay of Plenty Nov 1983 Scotland Edinburgh
Alan Whetton Auckland Jul 1984 Australia Sydney
Kevin Boroevich Wellington Jun 1986 France Christchurch
Walter Little North Harbour Jun 1990 Scotland Dunedin
Kevin Schuler Manawatu Aug 1990 Australia Auckland
Graham Dowd North Harbour May 1992 Ireland Dunedin


^ 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 from 2009 to 2012, to cap more than 400 former All Blacks who did not receive their caps during that period.