Hall of Fame Inductee - Wayne "Buck" Shelford

Discussion in 'The Clubhouse Bar' started by Cymro, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. Cymro

    Cymro Guest

    Full Name: Wayne Shelford [​IMG]
    D.O.B: 13 December, 1957
    Position: Number 8
    Country: New Zealand (22 caps, 20 points)
    Clubs: Auckland, North Harbour, North Shore and Northampton

    The 860th All Black is a true legend and definately one of the greatest number 8's ever. He started his rugby career while at Western Heights high school, Rotoura as a first XV player in 1973/1974 before also playing for Bay of Plenty Secondary Schools and Auckland age grade sides. He debued for Auckland in 1982.

    In 1985 he was chosen as an All Black for the first time, all be it for the abandoned tour of South Africa. Not loosing his place in the team however, he went on tour to Argentina, playing and winning 4 games (scoring 2 trys in the 3rd game and another in the 4th).

    Shelford joined the unauthorised Cavaliers tour of South Africa in 1986 and, when he was eligible again for the All Blacks, was chosen for the second test against Australia but had to withdraw because of injury. He went on the tour of France at the end of the year, where he played in both tests.

    If ever there was one moment when Buck embedded his name forever into rugby's rich history, it was during the infamous “Battle of Nantes†in 1986.

    Playing the second Test against a physically intimidating French side, Shelford found himself at the bottom of a rather aggressive ruck on 20 minutes. An errant Les Bleus stud found its way to his groin, where it somehow managed to tear his scrotum, leaving one testicle hanging out.

    This alone would leave most men screaming in agony and heading for the nearest hospital. But not Shelford. He calmly instructed the physio to stitch him up. The French public were gobsmacked as an over-eager pitchside cameraman filmed the stomach-turning surgery, and even more so when Shelford returned to the field and carried on playing...

    "I was knocked out cold, lost a few teeth and had a few stitches down below," Shelford later recalled. "It's a game I still can't remember... I don't really want to, either."

    Tough *******.

    Buck was an automatic choice for the 1987 World Cup, and played in five of the six matches, and also played in the Sydney test in which the All Blacks regained the Bledisloe Cup. He took over from David Kirk as captain for the tour of Japan in October and November and played in each of the five matches.

    Shelford then led the All Blacks on one of their great periods of domination, going through unbeaten from 1987 to 1990, with only a drawn test against Australia in 1988 to mar the perfect record. The Welsh aura was shattered with two hidings in New Zealand in 1988 (hurrah!), followed by a tour of Australia, then in 1989 Argentina and France were dispatched, as were Wales and Ireland at the end of 1989.

    By the beginning of 1990, however, Shelford's form was not as dominant as it had been and after two tests against Scotland he was dropped, prompting a public outcry. The criticism of the selectors intensified during the following series against Australia, when the All Blacks were beaten in the third test. "Bring Back Buck" signs appeared at grounds and talkback radio callers and writers of letters to editors created a groundswell of opinion, which was ignored by the New Zealand selectors.

    'Buck' was not brought back for the tour of France at the end of 1990 and in 1991 he was given consolation roles as captain of a New Zealand XV that played Romania and the Soviet Union, and of a New Zealand B team that played Australia.

    Shelford left New Zealand in late 1991 and headded to a struggling Northampton and instilled the same mental toughness that he gave to the All blacks for half a decade earlier. While at the Saints, Shelford had a memorable clash with Tiger's "Whitbred world player of the year, Dean Richards. It can be argued that Shelford taught a young England flanker named Tim Rodber a lot of his trade during his time.

    At the end of what was thought to be his one at only season at Franklins Gardens, his final game produced a 2 try performance and secured top division status. Geoff Allen game an emotional farewell over the PA system before the adoring crowd sand 'Now is the Hour' (the Maori farewell).

    The returning Shelford was not seen a the ground for the the first month of the 91/92 season as domestic rugby played second fiddle to the world cup, this time being played in Europe. He had a media role for the competition.

    Shelford remained with Northampton until 1994 in a coaching role before taking over at Saracens until 1997 when he returned home to New Zealand to coach North Harbour.

    The Maori word 'mana' may have been coined just for Shelford. A competitive and skilful No 8, he led by example, whether driving over the advantage line from scrums or rucks, defending or standing up against real and imagined slights. His quickness to take the law into his own hands would have been harshly judged in rugby's more recent years, but there was no question that he was one of the great forwards to play for New Zealand.

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