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Rugby Celebrates Eric Tindill's 99th Birthday

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rugby Celebrates Eric Tindill's 99th Birthday

New Zealand's oldest living All Black, Eric Tindill, reaches the grand age of 99 on Friday (18 December) and the New Zealand rugby community will be joining in the celebrations.

Mr Tindill has a unique record in New Zealand sport. The halfback and five eighth, who played for Wellington in the 1930s and 1940s, is thought to be the only sportsman to have played Tests for New Zealand in both rugby and cricket.

He made his All Blacks debut on Saturday 21 September, 1935, against Yorkshire and Cumberland at Bradford in the north of England. His first and only Test appearance came later on that same tour on January 4, 1936, against England in London. He made 14 of his 17 All Blacks appearances on that 1935-36 tour, adding three further appearances on the team's 1938 tour of Australia.

Not only was he a full international in both rugby (1935-1936) and cricket (1937-1947) but after his playing career ended he added to this distinction by refereeing Test rugby and umpiring Test cricket, as well as giving lengthy service to Wellington and New Zealand Cricket as an administrator. He also served as a member of the NZEF during the Second World War.

On Friday, New Zealand Rugby Union President John Sturgeon and other representatives of rugby will join well-wishers to visit Eric at his home in Wellington and personally deliver birthday wishes on behalf of the New Zealand rugby community. These will include a birthday card signed by those attending the Steinlager Rugby Awards on Thursday evening in Auckland, and a special All Blacks cake.

NZRU CEO Steve Tew said that Eric's story was a remarkable and inspiring one and his achievements across two sports, as well as his contribution to those and other codes after his playing days, will probably never be equalled.

"We are privileged and honoured to be able to pay tribute to Eric and celebrate this incredible milestone with him," said Mr Tew.

"As our last remaining pre-Second World War All Black, he is a living link with that part of our rugby history and the deeds and stories of that generation of All Blacks."

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