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Test capping to honour All Blacks heroes

allblacks.com     06 Jun 2009    

As announced at the 2008 Steinlager Rugby Awards, the New Zealand Rugby Union will be presenting more than 400 former players with their first Test cap during 2009 and 2010. The tradition of capping lapsed after the Second World War and was not re-introduced until 1997.

Launching the 2009 ceremonies today, NZRU Chairman Jock Hobbs said the response from former players has been extremely enthusiastic.

“We are eagerly looking forward to these events as an opportunity to close this gap in our history and give our players, who have laid the foundations for the game we enjoy today, the Test caps that they had worked so hard to attain.”

In 2009, capping ceremonies will take place in:

Dunedin Friday June 12 – Carisbrook

Wellington Friday June 19 – Te Papa

Christchurch Friday June 26 – Christchurch Convention Centre

Auckland Friday July 17 – SkyCity Convention Centre

Gisborne Friday September 4 – Emerald Hotel, Gisborne

Hamilton Friday September 11 – Waikato Stadium

With the exception of Gisborne, each of these events will precede an All Blacks Test match in that city. In Dunedin, the capping ceremony will be staged in conjunction with the NZRU Reunion which is held annually for former All Blacks, NZRU councillors and presidents and Test referees, making for a special event at Carisbrook on the eve of the first Iveco Series Test against France.

Of the 414 caps to be awarded, there are thought to be 325 living former All Blacks with 89 having passed away in the years since their Test debuts. The families of those former players who have passed on will also be invited to attend to receive the Test caps.

Players will be invited to attend one of the capping ceremonies with the oldest players or their families given priority, which will likely see those players from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s to be the first to be capped in 2009.

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.

The Launch of the All Blacks Test capping programme

The capping initiative was launched at the 2008 Steinlager Rugby Awards when the NZRU honoured six players representing each the six decades of All Blacks who did not receive their Test caps. The former players honoured: Fred Allen (representing the 1940s); Sir Wilson Whineray (1950s); Sir Brian Lochore (1960s); Andy Dalton (1970s); Wayne “Buck” Shelford (1980s); and Olo Brown (1990s).