The New Zealand cricket-rugby XV

The New Zealand cricket team defeated England in the second Test to win a series in England for the first time since 1999. It’s a continuation of historic and commanding form, which has seen New Zealand rise to the top of the Test rankings. Over a couple of pints with good bugger and sports tragic […]

The New Zealand cricket-rugby XV

The New Zealand cricket team defeated England in the second Test to win a series in England for the first time since 1999.

It’s a continuation of historic and commanding form, which has seen New Zealand rise to the top of the Test rankings.

Over a couple of pints with good bugger and sports tragic Ryan Gray at Petone’s Sprig and Fern, a best cricketers rugby XV has been produced. Debate was intense, especially in the forwards, where choices weren’t as obvious.

15. Don Clarke
The greatest goal kicker in the world from 1956 to 1964, the ‘Boot’ scored 207 points in 31 Tests and helped the All Blacks conquer the ’56 Springboks and ’59 Lions. An outstanding pace bowler, he took 117 wickets at 21.14 for Northern Districts and Auckland and could have easily been picked for New Zealand.

An honourable mention for Brian McKechnie. The fullback and medium-pace bowler was part of two of the most controversial incidents in rugby and cricket history. In 1978 while playing for the All Blacks against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park, he kicked the winning penalty against the hosts after Andy Hayden dived out of the lineout. In 1981 he faced the under-arm delivered by Australia’s Trevor Chappell at the MCG.

14. Jeff Wilson
An outstanding All Black who scored 44 tries in 60 Tests, he made his international cricket and rugby debuts in 1993. After committing exclusively to rugby he returned to cricket in 2005 and featured in New Zealand’s first ever Twenty20 international against Australia at Eden Park. Wilson was a bowling all-rounder.

(Photo by Jan Kruger-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

13. George Dickinson
A product of Otago Boys High School, Dickinson played in the first XV for four seasons between 1918 and 1921 and was one of those rare players who appeared for his country before his province. Aged only 19 and in his first year out of school, he played for the South Island and was then chosen for the All Blacks’ short tour of Australia. He played in four of the seven matches in Australia, once at inside centre, once at standoff and twice at centre. A lively pace bowler and lower-order batsman, he played three Tests and 39 first-class matches.

12. Walter Hadlee
He was captain of the legendary 1949 New Zealand cricket team in England. A punishing batsman, he was later a selector and administrator of repute and his son Sir Richard Hadlee is New Zealand’s greatest all-rounder. Walter also played centre for Canterbury in the ’30s. An honourable mention for Alexander Dalziel Downes. He played for Otago and the South Island in the 1880s and was noted for his drop-kicking prowess. He took 311 first-class wickets at a cost of 14.67.

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11. Will Jordan
A gun cricketer at Christchurch Boys’ High School, he won a national title in 2014 and made 102 off 83 balls against Palmerston North Boys’ High School at the same tournament a year later. The All Black, Crusaders and Tasman wing showed he hadn’t lost his batting touch in the 2021 Team Rugby versus Team Cricket exhibition, belting 49 off 29 balls for Team Rugby.

10. Brendon McCullum
In 1999 McCullum beat Daniel Carter into a South Island Under-18 rep side and took a famous intercept to help King’s High School defeat Otago Boys’ High School on Littlebourne. Rugby was a realistic career choice for him. Honourable mentions for Chris Cairns and Geoff Allott, two champion cricketers of the ’90s who were fine age-group rugby players in Christchurch.

Rugby Union ball generic

(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

9. Eric Tindall
The Wellington legend who passed away in 2014 aged 99 was an obvious choice. He remains the only man to play in and umpire a rugby and cricket Test. An honourable mention for Martin Donnelly, a fellow New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame member. The first Kiwi batsman to make a double century at Lord’s in 1949 averaged 52 in Test cricket and played rugby for Canterbury and England against Ireland in 1947.

8. Bill Carson
A military cross winner who died at sea during WWII in 1943, Carson was a flanker who toured Australia with the 1938 All Blacks. Better known as a cricketer, he was an outstanding all-rounder who toured England in 1937 and in just his second innings of first-class cricket scored 290 for Auckland against Otago at Carisbrook, as part of a 445-run partnership with Paul Whitelaw. The pair created a world record for the third wicket in first-class cricket.

7. Brendon Bracewell
The off-spin bowler played six Tests for New Zealand from 1978 to 1985 and took 194 first-class wickets at an average of 29. A product of Tauranga Boys’ College, he was also a tough-tackling flanker who played flanker for King Country. His son Doug Bracewell played cricket for New Zealand as did younger brother John.

6. John Burt
He represented Otago at a provincial level, playing 11 matches between 1896 and 1901. He played for the All Blacks against Wellington in 1901 and later was an opening batsman for Otago.

5. Kyle Jamieson
He fetched $2.86 million in the IPL auction after a stunning start to his Test career, taking 39 wickets in sevens Tests at 15. He played rugby league as a junior but standing six foot eight and weighing 96 kilograms, he has the natural attributes to be a great lineout forward, and in the tradition of dramatic New Zealand sporting selections there has always got to be a bolter.

Kyle Jamieson of New Zealand.

(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

4. Ali Williams
The courageous and cheeky All Blacks lock played 77 Tests and in 2005 when the British and Irish Lions were thrashed 3-0 he was arguably the best lock in the world. A product of King’s College he was a regular Auckland age-group representative and has featured in the Team Rugby versus Team Cricket exhibitions.

3. Rod Latham
A Canterbury fullback in 33 games from 1980 to 1985, his later rounder shape as a hard-hitting New Zealand all-rounder makes him ideal to anchor the scrum. Latham was a part of the groundbreaking 1992 New Zealand one-day cricket World Cup team.

2. Ron Hemi
He played 16 Tests for the All Blacks between 1953 and 1959 and was a part of the Waikato team that beat the ’56 Springboks. Like a fourth loose forward, he also played first-class cricket for Auckland.

1. Wilson Whineray
The legendary All Blacks captain and prop from 1957 to 1965 was the head prefect at Auckland Grammar School in 1951 and also a member of their first XI that won the Auckland Secondary Schools championship. A contender throughout his life for Governor General, there is little reason not to include the knighthood.

Coach: Ian Colquhoun
An All Blacks trialist in 1947, ‘Coke’ was a New Zealand and Central Districts wicketkeeper who coached the champion Palmerston North Boys’ High School first XV from 1958 to 1983. Palmerston North produced internationals like Bob Burgess and Emosi Koloto.

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James O’Connor is a centre

I am hopeful of a discussion on an idea that I think is worth an airing. James O’Connor would profit the Wallabies better at inside centre than five-eighth. O’Connor is a clever player possessed of superior game sense. I feel that he is the best thinker in the Australian Super Rugby competition as far as […]

James O’Connor is a centre

I am hopeful of a discussion on an idea that I think is worth an airing. James O’Connor would profit the Wallabies better at inside centre than five-eighth.

O’Connor is a clever player possessed of superior game sense. I feel that he is the best thinker in the Australian Super Rugby competition as far as I have observed this year.

He is deceptively quick, elusive and strong, able to beat tackles and a sturdy defender. He kicks most effectively given some room. He is experienced, having played across the globe for various teams.

He has clearly shown he can steady his teams on numerous occasions.

I contend that selection at inside centre would give him greater scope to identify the opponent’s weak points and exploit them in attack and also to read an opponent’s attack and counter it. All of these represent the requirement of a game manager and should put him in line for the inside centre position.

He knows exactly what to do and when. He knows the right thing to do from a set piece or in broken play will depend upon the coach’s requirements and the opportunities the play presents.

I believe that Noah Lolesio has developed sufficiently into a five-eighth who can promote a kicking or running game. Positioning O’Connor at inside centre would also provide a psychological boost to Lolesio and whoever is selected at outside centre.

I would prefer to see the Wallabies play rather more with the ball in hand, kick judiciously for territory, follow the ball and contest possession at lineout.

I believe James O’Connor might best promote my style of game but he is certainly skilful enough and flexible of mind to suit any game plan Dave Rennie might devise.

Over to you Roarers. What do you think? Should James O’Connor be moved to inside centre, or is there somewhere else in the team that suits him best?

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