The former All Blacks - the late Charles Willocks, Grant Batty, Duncan Robertson, Grant Fox, Frano Botica, Mike Brewer, Marc Ellis, Josh Kronfeld and Justin Marshall - were capped at the annual All Blacks Reunion held at the Forsyth Barr Stadium ahead of tonight's Investec Rugby Championship Test match against South Africa. The Reunion is an annual gathering of former All Blacks, international Test referees and NZRU board members and former Council members.
The capping ceremony marked the latest of the official capping ceremonies, re-started in 2009 after the tradition was interrupted by World War II. A total 361 former All Blacks have been capped over the past five years. Another 47 former All Blacks are yet to receive their caps.
Charles 'Chas' Willocks, whose cap was received by his children Robert Willocks and Linda Begg this evening, was the perennial locking partner of Lester Harvey and the two names were always linked together. Debuting against Australia in Dunedin in 1946, he played five Test matches and 17 All Blacks games.
The five-foot-five-inch Grant Batty was a quick halfback who was an instant hit with fans when he toured the UK and France with the All Blacks in 1972 and 1973. The 15-Test All Black was capped along with 10-Test All Blacks first-five-eighth and fullback Duncan Robertson (debuted 1974 v Australia).
All Blacks selector and legendary All Blacks boot Grant Fox was one of three All Blacks from the 1980s to be capped. The eight-season-veteran, who debuted against Argentina in Buenos Aries in 1985, was the first All Black to surpass 1000 points in all games for the All Blacks. He was joined from his decade by seven-Test first five-eighth Frano Botica and 32-Test loose forward Mike Brewer, both of whom debuted in 1986 against France in Christchurch.
The pacey and colourful Marc Ellis, an eight-Test All Black who debuted in 1993 against Scotland in Edinburgh, was capped alongside 54-Test flanker Josh Kronfeld (debuted 1995 v Canada) and 81-Test veteran halfback, turned rugby broadcaster, Justin Marshall (debuted 1995 v France).
The following All Blacks, or their family representatives, received caps at the Dunedin Reunion.
(Player, Province^, Debut, All Blacks v, Venue)
*Charles Willocks, Otago, Sep 1946, v Australia, Dunedin
Grant Batty, Wellington, Dec 1972, v Wales, Cardiff
Duncan Robertson, Otago, May 1974, v Australia, Sydney
Grant Fox, Auckland, Oct 1985, v Argentina, Buenos Aires
Frano Botica, North Harbour, Jun 1986, v France, Christchurch
Michael Brewer, Otago, Jun 1986, v France, Christchurch
Marc Ellis, Otago, Nov 1993, v Scotland, Edinburgh
Joshua Kronfeld, Otago, Apr 1995, v Canada, Auckland
Justin Marshall, Canterbury, Nov 1995, v France, Paris
^ 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.
About All Blacks Test caps
A player's first appearance in a Test match for the All Blacks is traditionally rewarded with a Test cap. However, international rugby and the capping tradition was interrupted by World War II and was not re-introduced until June 1997. In December 2008, the NZRU announced it would hold a series of events from to cap more than 400 former All Blacks who did not receive their caps during that period.