Gisborne to play host to special capping ceremony     01 Sep 2009    

The rich and proud rugby heritage of Poverty Bay and nearby East Coast will be celebrated when the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Poverty Bay Rugby Union jointly host the fifth of this year's All Blacks Capping Ceremonies in Gisborne on Friday September 4.

The ceremony will be held at Gisborne’s Emerald Hotel and will officially confer All Blacks Test caps on 10 players who originated from or had ties to that part of New Zealand.

Among them will be All Blacks captain Ian Kirkpatrick, 23-Test veteran Richard “Tiny” White and two All Blacks – Brian Fitzpatrick and Hamish Macdonald, who both had sons who went on to become All Blacks.

NZRU Chairman Jock Hobbs said the NZRU was delighted to be partnering with the Poverty Bay Rugby Union and community to honour their local heroes.

“This is the first and only capping event we are holding outside of the main centres this year and it has been special to see the effort that has been made by the Poverty Bay Union to honour their former players in this way.”

Poverty Bay Chairman Malcolm Maclean said the union is very honoured to have been given the opportunity by the NZRU to host an All Blacks Capping Ceremony.

“The former All Blacks are legends in our community and we are proud to be part of the occasion when they are finally recognised for playing a Test match by receiving their cap. We have had an outstanding response by the public with all 260 tickets selling out within two days.”

The former All Blacks will also be introduced to the crowd at the Poverty Bay v North Otago, Heartland Championship match on Saturday.

Gisborne Capping Ceremony

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

Player & Province^ Debut All Blacks vs. Venue
Richard White (Pov Bay) 3 Sept 1949 Australia Wellington
Brian Fitzpatrick* (Wgtn) 19 Dec 1953 Wales Cardiff
John Collins* (Pov Bay) 15 Aug 1964 Australia Dunedin
Ian Kirkpatrick (Cant) 25 Nov 1967 France Paris
Henare Milner* (Wanganui) 29 Aug 1970 South Africa Port Elizabeth
Mike Parkinson* (Pov Bay) 19 Aug 1972 Australia Wellington
Hamish Macdonald (Cant) 2 Dec 1972 Wales Cardiff
Lawrie Knight (Pov Bay) 18 June 1977 British & Irish Lions Wellington
Andrew Jefferd (E Coast) 13 June 1981 Scotland Dunedin
Gordon Macpherson (Otago) 28 June 1986 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.

While four of the players were selected to the All Blacks while playing for Poverty Bay and another from East Coast, each of the players being honoured on Friday have had strong links to the region.

The Gisborne event is the fifth of six ceremonies being held around the country in 2009. The final capping ceremony of the year will be held on Friday September 11 in Hamilton on the eve of the All Blacks-Springboks Investec Tri Nations clash.

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.