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Auckland's Turn To Honour All Blacks Legends

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Auckland's Turn To Honour All Blacks Legends

Quartet of famous wingers among those to be capped

A quartet of wingers who each brought something different to the black jersey will be among 35 All Blacks being honoured with their first Test caps in Auckland this Friday evening.

The All Blacks Capping Ceremony, the fourth of six being held around the country in 2009, occurs on the eve of the opening Investec Tri Nations and Bledisloe Cup Test match between the All Blacks and Wallabies on Saturday.

Among those being recognised on Friday are four All Blacks wingers - Bryan "Beegee" Williams, Stu Wilson, Jonah Lomu and Eric Rush, all of whom were made famous by the deeds in an All Blacks jersey.

Bryan Williams, the current NZRU Vice President, will shed his ceremonial duties for the evening to receive the cap he earned in 1970 in Pretoria when he took the field as a 19-year-old against the Springboks. He went on to play a staggering 113 matches, including 38 Tests, for the All Blacks.

Stu Wilson, who would set a record for Test tries scored and one day captain the All Blacks, debuted in Toulouse in 1977 against France. His 19 Test tries was, at the time of his retirement, a world record.

Jonah Lomu was famous even before his first Test and after taking the field against France in 1994, he set world rugby alight a year later in South Africa as the All Blacks stormed through the field of the Rugby World Cup only to be pipped in the extra time final by the hosts.

With him in that team was a player who was the face of Sevens rugby internationally before and after his career as an All Blacks winger - North Harbour's Eric Rush. Rush played 29 times for the All Blacks, including nine Tests, and went on to astonishing success as the captain of the world-leading New Zealand Sevens team.

The four join the other former All Blacks or their families who will receive the caps they earned for their first All Blacks Test appearance at the capping ceremony being held at the SkyCity Convention Centre on Friday evening.

Two other All Blacks who were capped as part of the launch of the capping initiative at the 2008 Steinlager Rugby Awards - Andy Dalton and Olo Brown - will be acknowledged again with their team mates, friends and family at Friday's event. In what will be a special moment for the Dalton family, Andy will also be on hand to see the presentation of a cap for his father Ray's first Test appearance in 1947.

Sixteen of the newly-capped players will be acknowledged again at Saturday's Test match at Eden Park, forming a guard of honour to welcome the teams to the field.

Auckland Capping Ceremony

The following All Blacks or their family representatives will receive caps in Auckland:

Player & Province^ Debut All Blacks vs. Venue Maurice McHugh (Auck) 14 Sept 1946 Australia Dunedin Bob Scott (Auck) 14 Sept 1946 Australia Dunedin Eric Boggs* (Auck) 28 Sept 1946 Australia Auckland Ray Dalton* (Wgtn) 14 June 1947 Australia Brisbane Sammy Henderson (Wang)16 July 1949 South Africa Cape Town Kevin Skinner (Otago) 16 July 1949 South Africa Cape Town Snow Cockerill (T'naki) 23 June 1951 Australia Sydney Percy Erceg (Auck) 23 June 1951 Australia Sydney Noel Bowden (T'naki) 13 Sept 1952 Australia Wellington Ian Irvine (Northland) 6 Sept 1952 Australia Christchurch Snow White (Auck) 9 Jan 1954 Ireland Dublin Lindsay Townsend (Otago) 20 Aug 1955 Australia Wellington John Graham (C'bury) 23-Aug-1958 Australia Wellington Adrian Clarke (Auck) 20 Sept 1958 Australia Auckland Ralph Caulton (Wgtn) 15 Aug 1959 British & Irish Lions Wellington Don McKay (Auck) 22 July 1961 France Auckland Keith Nelson (Otago) 8 Sept 1962 Australia Dunedin Mac Herewini (Auck) 22 Sept 1962 Australia Auckland Sid Going (Northland) 19 Aug 1967 Australia Wellington Gerald Kember (Wgtn) 12 Sept 1970 South Africa Johannesburg Bryan Williams (Auck) 25 July 1970 South Africa Pretoria Ken Carrington (Auck) 26 June 1971 British & Irish Lions Dunedin Richie Guy (Northland) 26 June 1971 British & Irish Lions Dunedin Peter Whiting (Auck) 26 June 1971 British & Irish Lions Dunedin Andy Haden (Auck) 18 June 1977 British & Irish Lions Wellington Bruce Gemmell (Auck) 25 May 1974 Australia Sydney Jon McLachlan (Auck) 1-June 1974 Australia Brisbane Stu Wilson (Wgtn) 11 Nov 1977 France Toulouse Mark Donaldson (M'watu) 11 Nov 1977 France Toulouse Andy Dalton# (Cties M'kau) 19 Nov 1977 France Paris Gary Cunningham (Auck) 28 July 1979 Australia Sydney Mark Brooke-Cowden (Auck) 28 June 1986 France Christchurch Joe Stanley (Auck) 28 June 1986 France Christchurch Craig Innes (Auck) 4 Nov 1989 Wales Cardiff Olo Brown# (Auck) 6 June 1992 Ireland Wellington Eric Rush (Nth Harbour) 31 May 1995 Wales Johannesburg Jonah Lomu (Cties-M 'kau) 26 Jun 1994 France 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. # Players who were capped at the Steinlager Rugby Awards capping launch in Dec 2008 who will be recognised with their team mates, friends and family at this event.

Provinces Auckland has the most representatives (19) of those being capped on Friday. Auckland's famous Ponsonby Rugby Club will also be recognised with 12 of its players being honoured at this ceremony. Four other players were selected from Wellington, three each from Otago and Northland, two each from Taranaki and Counties Manukau, and one representative each from Wanganui, Canterbury, Manawatu and North Harbour.

Debuts To kick off proceedings, NZRU Chairman Jock Hobbs and President John Sturgeon will honour two players - Maurice McHugh and Bob Scott - who had their Test debuts on the same day in 1946. The ceremony will also feature three players - Ken Carrington, Richie Guy and Peter Whiting - who shared a Test debut against the 1971 British & Irish Lions in Dunedin. Two others duos shared Test debuts: Stu Wilson and halfback Mark Donaldson both made their Test starts against France in Toulouse in 1977 while Mark Brooke-Cowden and Joe Stanley were among the "Baby Blacks" team which took on France in 1986.

Guard of Honour At least 16 of the players will be on hand at Eden Park on Saturday night to form a guard of honour for the All Blacks and Wallabies as they take the field for the opening match of the Investec Tri Nations.

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.

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