Headstone for Original Duncan McGregor unveiled

    05 Dec 2005    

Duncan McGregor was one of the stars of the All Blacks tour of Britain in 1905 but he died in poverty and was buried in an unmarked grave in Timaru.

The team helped put New Zealand on the map and it was McGregor's star that shone the brightest.

He scored four tries in the 15-0 test win against England - a record only equalled by Jonah Lomu.

On Friday, a century to the day after his try scoring feat, family members, Timaru locals and rugby identities including former All Blacks gathered to unveil a new headstone for him.

adidas New Zealand donated a replica 1905 Orginals jersey for the unveiling and the jersey was presented to the family.

The unveiling was the work of Timaru policeman Steve Wills, who started a fund-raising campaign for the new headstone.

"He was obviously destitute, he'd sweep out a few yards for a few shillings so he could have enough for a beer and a bit of food," Mr Wills said.

But he didn't leave enough money for a gravestone, and for 60 years he lay forgotten in the Timaru cemetery.

All Blacks great and former NZRU president Tane Norton represented the NZRU at the unveiling.

He said it was a matter of pride that his photograph was on the same wall at the Linwood rugby clubrooms as McGregor's.

McGregor's success wasn't restricted to union. In 1907 he switched codes and toured with the first league side to Britain.