Mr. Stu Wilson
Born at Gore
in 1954 but educated in Masterton, Stu Wilson was a powerful 1.83 metre,
86kg centre or wing. Joining Old Boys in 1973 he was a popular member of
the Club. Giving up smoking in 1973 his Rugby career changed dramatically.
Doug Catley made him captain of the Seniors, later he was selected for NZ
Colts, Wellington, North Island and the All Blacks 1976 tour of
Although demands of provincial and national Rugby
curtailed his appearances for Old Boys he turned out for the Old Boys Club
whenever he could and gave freely of his time to encourage younger
players. The day after the 1983 Dunedin Lions test Old Boys had its first
Jubilee Cup match. Stu skipped the official test dinner and with some
difficulty, switched his air tickets to fly home to play for Old Boys. He
scored a try helping Old Boys beat Athletic.
In a distinguished
Rugby career he scored more than fifty tries for the All Blacks, Two in
his first match wearing the black jersey. For several years his nineteen
test tries were an All Black record.
He was only the twelfth man in
NZ Rugby history to score more than one hundred first class tries - 104 in
total - many of them brilliant, exciting efforts. Stu's record was
achieved when coaches concentrated on ten man Rugby with the ball seldom
getting to the wings. In some matches Stu only handled the ball three of
four times but a try often eventuated.
He was a NZ Colt and in 1975
was selected for Wellington B. After only two games he was a permanent
fixture in the representative A side for the next nine years. In his first
full season for Wellington Stu scored sixteen tries in fifteen games.
Playing 89 first class games for Wellington he was captain during 1981,
which included victory over Scotland.
Noted for his sense of humour
and light hearted attitude Stu carried this into his play making scoring
tries in top Rugby look much easier than it is. Among his entertaining
displays was a hat trick of tries against the British Isles at Eden Park
in 1983. He also achieved a hat trick there against Scotland in
Stu wore the All Black jersey 85 times and appeared in 34
tests. He made nine overseas tours, including that with the 1978 Grand
Slam team which beat all four Home Unions. He was captain in all eight
matches of the 1983 tour of England and Scotland.
Stu Wilson made
many friends among international players during his career, which took him
to thirteen different Rugby playing countries, so had no difficulty
raising an International Invitation XV to play Wellington in his last
official match, a fund raiser for the Al Keown Memorial Trust.
retired from all Rugby, still in his prime in 1984. His retirement was
sparked by controversy over a book he co-authored with fellow All Black
wing Bernie Fraser. Under IRB rules players were not allowed to accept
book royalties. Many had adopted various subterfuges to get round
Stu Wilson refused to do so. The Club Management Committee
gave him its full backing and repeated its call to the Rugby Union to
press for a rule change. In public statement our then Club Chairman asked
what the IRB stand would be if Stu's book had been about great golf
courses he had played - during Rugby tours. The early retirement was a
loss to WCOB and to NZ Rugby.
A real estate agent Stu Wilson also
works as a radio and television rugby commentator.
At his best
in the late 1980s Steve McDowell as a loosehead prop ranked among the
world's best and among the finest in the position produced by New
Though not tall and under 1.83m McDowell was an extremely
powerful man with his physique honed from his other sport, judo, in which
he also won national honours, and his constant workouts with weights in
He was an excellent scrummager, a superb mauler and explosive
when he burst frequently into the open, especially in his halcyon years
between 1985 and 1990.
The bulk of McDowell's representative career
was with Auckland but he was a Bay of Plenty product and was one of a fine
group of players from around Rotorua who emerged at around the same time
such as Wayne Shelford and Hika Reid.
McDowell entered the Bay of
Plenty representative side in 1982 and played 35 matches for the union
over the next three seasons, adding to that tally with a sole appearance
when briefly back in the Bay in 1989.
McDowell impressed for the
Bay in a number of high profile games against the Lions in 1983 and in a
narrow Ranfurly Shield loss to Canterbury in 1984. In each of the 1982 and
1984 seasons he was in respectively the national colts side and the New
Zealand juniors, making inevitable a transfer to one of the country's
He joined Auckland in 1985 and with selection in the
Emerging Players and the All Black trials he emerged as a test contender.
He was duly chosen for the tour of South Africa and when this was called
off went instead on the replacement tour of Argentina, where he made his
In his first season with Auckland McDowell participated
in the successful Ranfurly Shield challenge against Canterbury, scoring a
crucial try. Over the next seven seasons McDowell was an Auckland mainstay
and was involved in all of the province's triumphs of the late 80s at
Ranfurly Shield and NPC levels.
At the same time he became a
stalwart of All Black sides, his career suffering only a minor glitch when
he incurred a two-test suspension for going with the Cavaliers on the
rebel tour of South Africa in 1986. He formed a mighty front row with
fellow Aucklanders Sean Fitzpatrick and John Drake during the 1987 World
Cup and then when Drake retired prematurely Fitzpatrick and McDowell
formed another celebrated front row with Richard Loe.
some outstanding tours in this period in which this trio were dominant, to
Australia in 1988, Wales and Ireland in 1989 and to France in 1990. But by
the time of the 1991 World Cup some of the momentum was fast fading from
what had been a formidable team and in 1992, having had 81 All Black
matches including 46 tests, McDowell suddenly disappeared from the
Under new coach Laurie Mains he retained his place
for the centenary matches early in 1992 and for the series against the
touring Irish. But he was supplanted for the tests on the Australian-South
Africa tour with Olo Brown emerging and Loe switching to McDowell's spot
on the loosehead side of the scrum. McDowell's only consolation was
captaining the midweek All Blacks, albeit to a big loss to
In 1993 McDowell also faded from Auckland sides with Brown
and Craig Dowd the preferred props. In 1994 he moved to Wellington and had
10 games for that union. He then had a lengthy period overseas returning
in 1998 at the age of 37 and with little regular play behind him to make
three appearances for Auckland bringing his tally for the union to
McDowell between 1988 and 1992 was a frequent New Zealand
Maori player, captaining that side in 1991 and 1992. In all first class
rugby he played 294 matches.
|Mr. Bernie Fraser :
Bernie Fraser was a school boy star when he attended Auckland's St Paul's
College he took a surprisingly long time to establish himself as a regular
representative player. Coming to Wellington in 1973, Fraser suffered a
broken leg early in his debut season and the following year his season was
disrupted for a lengthy period again when he copped a suspension after
being ordered off in a club game.
When Fraser did crack the
Wellington representative team it was only for occasional appearances in
the 1975-76 seasons. Then Wellington coach Ray Dellabarca did not
appreciate Fraser's casual attitude to discipline and in 1975 he got only
three starts and in 1976, despite two tries when New Zealand Marist met
Wellington, was given just the one game.
Only when Petone stalwart
Ian Upston took over the Wellington side in 1977 was there a change in
Fraser's fortunes. He played 12 games that year including the 13-6 loss to
the Lions and after a brief stint back in his home town of Tokoroa early
in the year continued his advance in 1978. He had a starring role in
Wellington's national championship win that season and in one NPC match
scored four tries against Canterbury.
By 1979 Fraser, even though
at a relatively advanced age of 26, clearly had an All Black future and he
duly made his debut in the two unofficial tests against Argentina which
was followed by the tour to England and and Scotland and his first full
His international aspirations suffered a temporary
setback when he, along with several others, had a disappointing tour of
Australia in 1980. But back in the Wellington environment he regained
confidence and starting with the end of season 1980 tour of Wales his All
Black place was assured for the next three seasons.
He was part of
a fine Wellington quartet, with fellow three quarter Stu Wilson, fullback
Allan Hewson and No 8 Murray Mexted, which had a fabulous 1981, including
the series win over the Springboks and for the province the NPC-Ranfurly
By now Fraser had become something of a cult figure
in Wellington forming a lethal partnership with his close friend Wilson.
Where one (Wilson) was fair and light featured, Fraser, of Fijian
ancestry, was dark and dusky and the physical contrast provided a lovely
title for their joint 1984 biography, "Ebony and Ivory".
Athletic Park, such was Fraser's ability to score tries with regularity in
a particular part of the ground, the south east corner was dubbed,
"Bernie's Corner." When he retired from top rugby in 1986 he had scored
105 tries in 124 Wellington appearances and his 171 tries from his 201
first class matches was the New Zealand record at the time.
Fraser never quite repeated his feats for Wellington on the international
stage, even though he had a worthy All Black career, finishing with 55
matches including 23 tests. His tally of six test tries, however, was only
modest and in the standing of test wings of the past 25 years he would
rate behind not only Stu Wilson, John Kirwan, Jonah Lomu, Jeff Wilson and
Doug Howlett but probably Craig Green and Terry Wright, too.
for all his failings Fraser was always a bright, entertaining player who
gave his province and country exemplary service.
Fraser's All Black
career ended in 1984, by which time he had been supplanted by Kirwan, and
his involvement on his swan song, the 1984 tour of Australia, only came as
a mid tour replacement for an injured Kirwan. Fraser continued to play for
Wellington until early 1986 and that year he made the Cavaliers' rebel
tour of South Africa, though only as a replacement for the unavailable
Kirwan. Fraser, halfback Andrew Donald and replacement hooker John Mills
were the three Cavaliers who had not been chosen in 1985 for the aborted
All Black tour of the republic.
from near Inverness, in the north of Scotland, Iain now lives in Bangkok
with his wife and two daughters, having arrived from a posting in Istanbul
which finished in February 2004. He is a Director in the performance
improvement team of PricewaterhouseCoopers Thailand, and is hoping to put
some of his wide variety of skills to use on the back of an
originally trained for a career as a biochemist after a promising soccer
career was ruined through injury, but then joined a Highland infantry
regiment in the British Army where he competed in international biathlon
and cross country skiing events in Norway, Sweden and Austria (including
the 90 km Vasalopet ski marathon). After seeing some 'exciting
moments' around the world, including working as a chemical warfare officer
in the first Gulf War and passing out as the top sniper instructor, Iain
and his wife took a year off to travel. More excitement followed in
Tahiti, Cambodia, Laos and Uzbekistan. He moved into business
consulting after completing his masters degree in London. While on
secondment to Argentina and Brazil with PwC, Iain learned to ride and then
started to play horse polo. Although he has no horse polo handicap,
his enthusiasm for polo remains, and he is delighted to take the
opportunity to try a variation of the sport, albeit on slightly larger
animals. He is a keen sportsman, playing tennis and soccer
regularly and has recently started playing golf. He is a PADI scuba
instructor, qualified pilot, and is game for anything, from free-fall
parachuting to heli-skiing. While working at PwC in Bangkok, Iain has
recently been focused on business project management and process
improvement. It remains to be seen whether his broad knowledge and
general management skills combined with his flexibility will be what is
needed on the back of an elephant, but he is willing to find