Christchurch honours former All Blacks     25 Jun 2009    

The All Blacks Capping Ceremony, the third of six being held around the country in 2009, occurs on the eve of the Iveco Series Test match between the All Blacks and Italy, and also coincides with a 50th anniversary gathering of those All Blacks and Canterbury representatives who took on the British and Irish Lions in 1959.

Thirty-two former All Blacks or their families will receive the caps they earned for their first All Blacks Test appearance at the main capping ceremony which will be held at the Christchurch Convention Centre on Friday evening.

A number of those players will be acknowledged again at Saturday’s Iveco Series Test match at AMI Stadium, forming a guard of honour to welcome the two teams to the field.

Because of the special 1959 reunion, the New Zealand Rugby Union will also extend the capping ceremony to include four players from the 1959 All Blacks – Stan “Tiny” Hill, Fergie McCormick, Jules Lelievre and Bruce Watt - who have elected to receive their Test caps at the 1959 Series luncheon on Friday afternoon.

And, in another special tribute, former All Black Rex Orr will receive his Test cap at his retirement home in Halswell on Saturday with NZRU Chairman Jock Hobbs making the presentation.

The tradition of capping lapsed after the Second World War and was not re-introduced until 1997. As announced in December 2008, the NZRU is presenting more than 400 former players with their first Test cap during 2009 and 2010.

Christchurch Capping Ceremony
The following All Blacks or their family representatives will receive caps in Christchurch

Player & Province^ Debut All Blacks vs. Venue
Bill Meates (Otago)* 13 Aug 1949 South Africa Johannesburg
Rex Orr # (Otago) 3 Sept 1949 Australia Wellington
Nelson Dalzell (Cant)* 19 Dec 1953 Wales Cardiff
Guy Bowers (Wgtn)* 9 Jan 1954 Ireland Dublin
Lyn Davis (Cant)* 5 June 1976 Ireland Wellington
Wally Argus (Cant) 14 Sept 1946 Australia Dunedin
John Hotop (Cant) 6 Sept 1952 Australia Christchurch
Kevin Meates (Cant) 6 Sept 1952 Australia Christchurch
Robin Archer (Otago) 20 Aug 1955 Australia Wellington
Stanley (Tiny) Hill (Cant) 17 Sept 1955 Australia Auckland
Dennis Young (Cant) 4 Aug 1956 South Africa Wellington
Thomas Coughlan (S Can) 23 Aug 1958 Australia Wellington
Bruce McPhail (Cant) 18 July 1959 British & Irish Lions Dunedin
Bruce Watt # (Cant) 26 May 1962 Australia Brisbane
John Morrissey (Cant) 25 Aug 1962 Australia Wellington
Jules Le Lievre # (Cant) 8 Sept 1962 Australia Dunedin
Bluey Arnold (Cant) 7 Dec 1963 Ireland Dublin
Bill Birtwistle (Cant) 31 July 1965 South Africa Wellington
Fergie McCormick (Cant) 18 Sept 1965 South Africa Auckland
Bruce Hunter (Otago) 26 June 1971 British & Irish Lions Dunedin
Tane Norton (Cant) 26 June1971 British & Irish Lions Dunedin
Howard Joseph (Cant) 10 July 1971 British & Irish Lions Christchurch
Ken Stewart (S’land) 15 Sept 1973 England Auckland
Billy Bush (Cant) 25 May 1974 Australia Sydney
Gary Seear (Otago) 11 Nov 1977 France Toulouse
Brian McKechnie (S’land) 11 Nov 1977 France Toulouse
Richard Wilson (Cant) 10 Nov 1979 Scotland Edinburgh
Warwick Taylor (Cant) 4 June 1983 British & Irish Lions Christchurch
Albert Anderson (Cant) 12 Nov 1983 Scotland Edinburgh
Murray Davie (Cant) 19 Nov 1983 England London
Victor Simpson (Cant) 26 Oct 1985 Argentina Buenos Aires
Andy Earl (Cant) 28 June 1986 France Christchurch
Richard Loe (Waikato) 22 May 1987 Italy Auckland
Graeme Bachop (Cant) 4 Nov 1989 Wales Cardiff
Jon Preston (Cant) 8 Oct 1991 USA Gloucester

^ 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 being capped separately from the formal capping ceremony on Friday night

Canterbury has the most representatives (23) of those being capped on Friday, with many of the province’s favourite rugby sons among those to be honoured. Otago (4) is next followed by Southland (2), and Wellington, Waikato and South Canterbury with one each.

Five of the players to be capped had their Test debuts in Christchurch while there are three duos who had their debuts on the same day: John Hotop and Kevin Meates (vs Australia, 1952 in Christchurch); Bruce Hunter and Tane Norton (vs the 1971 British & Irish Lions in Dunedin); and Gary Seear and Brian McKechnie who both debuted against France in Toulouse on the same day in 1977.

Guard of Honour
At least nine of the players will be on hand at AMI Stadium on Saturday night to form a guard of honour for the All Blacks and Italian team as they take the field for their Iveco Series Test match.

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.

Photos - capping ceremonies:
Photos of the All Blacks Test Capping Ceremonies will be available for download free of charge at