Pay the lads right, says oldest All Black

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2012
Wally Argus
CARYS MONTEATH/FAIRFAX NZ
LIVING LEGEND: Wally Argus is the oldest living All Black at the age of 91 years.

Relevant offers

All Blacks

Sonny Bill Williams playing his best rugby, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says Hard for Cory Jane to make All Blacks World Cup squad, coach Steve Hansen admits Patrick Osborne, Tawera Kerr-Barlow called into All Blacks squad for Bledisloe Cup tests Ma'a Nonu cleared of serious damage but may miss first Bledisloe Cup test All Blacks captain Richie McCaw entitled to say farewell on his own terms Rotation in vogue for southern hemisphere powers ahead of Rugby World Cup Bledisloe Cup beauts – five of the best from rugby's trans-Tasman rivalry Cully: Wallabies need to find another level to live with the All Blacks in Sydney Reason: TMO blight on the game and biggest threat to World Cup Cory Jane book extract: Going Sevens, Going Super

Wally Argus, the oldest living All Black, reckons the current breed deserve every dollar they are awarded.

The recent passing of close friend and former All Blacks team-mate Bob Scott means Argus, 91, carries the torch as our most senior international.

When the former market gardener watches Richie McCaw's men squeeze their bodies through the grinder he believes they have earned the right to a decent payday. "I think it is tougher now than when we played. Good luck to them," Argus, an ex-wing noted for his size in his prime, said.

"Although they are getting well paid, they deserve it. In our day we got six or seven shillings a day. It was a pittance really but we had a good time."

His memories of the games he played - four tests against Australia in 1946 and 1947 and 17 appearances for the touring "Kiwis" following World War II - are sharp. So too are his recollections of those he played alongside.

Among them were Johnny Smith, Charlie Saxton, Ron Elvidge and Scott - the famous fullback whom he swapped best man duties with.

"Bob was one of the best I played alongside. In those days, the wings had to back up your fullback but he wasn't having any of that. Bob would say, ‘Get out of my territory - I will look after this'."

He recalled the skills of Smith, a strong running and powerful centre.

"He was marvellous, a cracker. He gave me tries he could have scored himself sometimes."

Argus, who specialised on playing on the left flank, first represented Canterbury in 1941 and, after serving in the war, where he drove trucks alongside Scott in the Middle East and Italy, he returned to New Zealand to win his first All Blacks cap against the Wallabies in Dunedin in 1946.

It was a memorable debut; he scored two tries. When the All Blacks toured Australia the following year, they travelled by flying boat. He scored in both tests and was the leading try scorer on tour.

Smith was so impressed that his next child, a daughter, had Argus as her second name.

For business and family reasons Argus made himself unavailable for the 1949 tour of South Africa.

"In those days you went there and back by boat and you were probably away for about six months. I had a daughter on the way and you didn't get paid in those days."

Still a keen follower of the All Blacks, he praised England for their recent shock win at Twickenham. "I still enjoyed it, even though we lost. England played well and I don't think it will do the All Blacks any harm."

Ad Feedback

- The Press

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content