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Tributes for Thames Valley legend Kevin Barry

allblacks.com     20 Aug 2014    

Barry, who passed away on the weekend aged 78 was the middle man in a historic three generations of representatives to wear the Silver Fern, and would wear the Black jersey more than his father and son.

He was capped 23 times on two tours to Australia and Britain and France, though never played a Test.

His father, Edward Barry, popularly known as Ned, was a handy forward who represented New Zealand between 1932 and 1934, a crucial generation as the Bledisloe Cup began and scrum formations shifted from the old 2-3-3 setting to the more familiar 3-4-1. In 1993, former North Harbour man, Liam Barry, Kevin’s son, made the All Blacks squad and played ten matches (one Test) until 1995.
NZ Rugby President Ian MacRae played with Barry on the 1963/64 tour to England and France.

“He was a real joy to be in the company of," MacRae said.

"He made friends with everybody which was great for me as I was a young All Black then on my first tour so he made me feel welcomed.

"I remember him as a good footballer who could play as a loosie or lock and that made him very valuable in any team. He’ll be greatly missed.”

On the 22 April, 1936, Ned and his family welcomed Kevin Edward Barry into the world in Lower Hutt.

The Barry family wouldn’t remain in Wellington, shifting to Mercury Bay when Ned, now a police officer, was posted to the Thames Valley region.
Kevin would represent the Bay’s club as an 18-year-old, and three years later in 1957 would play in his first All Blacks trial.

Despite playing for Auckland in 1961 during the blue and white’s famous Ranfurly Shield reign, it wouldn’t be until Wedneday 16 May in 1962 that Barry would become Paeroa West Rugby’s first and only All Black – making his debut against Central-Western Districts in Bathhurst.
Kevin told the New Zealand Women’s Weekly three years ago he didn’t think he would become Test player in an era where individuals were a little more meek than today’s generation.

“I never dreamed of being an All Black, myself,” Barry said.

“My father was one, but in those days we were inclined to be a bit more modest than kids of today. Now they’re all of a mind that they can do anything but in my day it would have been regarded as boasting.”

Like his father a versatile forward, Barry was not a small man at 1.88m and approximately 100kg, which often saw him shift between the second and back rows.

The increasing size of international locks and the presence of players like Brian Lochore and Kel Tremain would limit Kevin’s opportunities, playing in the 1962 All Blacks tour of Australia and the 1963-64 end of year trip to Britain and France.

Now part of a select group of father and son All Blacks, Barry also was part of Thames Valley history when the Wallabies lost 16-14 at Te Aroha.

On the 22 February, 1964, Kevin signed off his international career against a British-Columbia Under 25s XV – scoring eight tries for New Zealand over this time.
In 1993, Ned and Kevin witnessed the very special moment when a third generation Barry, Liam, donned the black jersey, the first, and last, time that a Grandfather, Father and Son have played for New Zealand.

The rugby community and the All Blacks thoughts are with Kevin’s wife Justine and the Barry family at this sad time.