New Zealand Rugby remembers

New Zealand Rugby Museum     06 Aug 2014     New Zealand Rugby Museum

Rugby, like everything else in New Zealand, was affected and New Zealand Rugby continues to remember the contribution of clubs and players during the war and the effect that the conflict had on our game as players enlisted and administrators, volunteers and club funds were all diverted to the war effort. 

The New Zealand Rugby Football Union (as it then was) noted in its Annual Report that by 1917 'practically every footballer of military age has enlisted' and many made the supreme sacrifice. The All Blacks were likewise affected.  The team was on tour in Australia and were playing a match in Sydney against the Metropolitan Union when news of the war came through and on the ship returning home two weeks later, the players agreed they would all sign up. Many former All Blacks also enlisted and 13 gave their lives during the conflict, while others were badly injured.

Over the coming years, New Zealand Rugby will be marking milestones significant to rugby and working with New Zealand rugby communities and Government as they commemorate those milestones that affect all New Zealanders. There will be commemorations at games as well as recognition online, at New Zealand Rugby's offices and events and through publications.

The New Zealand Rugby Museum meanwhile is preparing its exhibition 'Balls, Bullets and Boots' which will explore the legacy of the War through the eyes of rugby players.

To learn more about rugby and World War One, read Ron Palenski's article Lest We Forget for the Onside Rugby Annual.

View the profiles of the 13 All Blacks killed during World War One:

Jim Baird
Bobby Black 
Norkey Dewar
Ernie Dodd
Doolan Downing
Dave Gallaher
Eric Harper
Jim McNeece
Jimmy Ridland
George Sellars 
Reg Taylor
Jum Turtill
Frank Wilson