As we near the business end of the Rugby World Cup, we also see the completion of our Wairarapa All Blacks team.
We chose Ian Harvey as out first lock, but the second locking position was more difficult to choose. The first Wairarapa All Black was Hart Udy, junior, who technically did not play for Wairarapa as there was no Wairarapa Union in his time. Playing for the Greytown club side which competed in the Wellington competition in the mid-1880s, he played in eight matches for the national team. The New Zealand Rugby Annual of 1885 said he was a “powerful forward, always pretty adjacent to the ball.”
In the end we went for Alan ‘Kiwi’ Blake, although he usually played in the loose forwards. He played 108 games for Wairarapa and was perhaps best known for exploits with the 2NZEF rugby team, better known as the ‘Kiwis’, who excited crowds in Europe and the United Kingdom with their open style of play. ‘Kiwi’ Blake had 26 games for the New Zealand Maori team (despite not having a drop of Maori blood) and played for New Zealand against Australia. He was also a Wairarapa selector in the late 1960s.