Newspaper Article 2006 – Ex-All Black made big mark on HB rugby scene

Ex-All Black made big mark on HB rugby scene



Jim McCormick was a Hawke’s Bay Rugby Football Union life member since 1988

Hawke’s Bay’s oldest former All Black, Jim McCormick, died in Waipukurau last week.

He was 83.

Mr McCormick was a life member of the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Football Union since 1988 and of other sporting organisations including the Waipukurau Jockey Club, the Wanstead Polo Club, Waipukurau Club and Central Rugby Club.

Representatives of those organisations were well represented among the 400 people at his funeral at Waipukurau’s St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Tuesday.

Born in Waipukurau, Mr McCormick attended Scot’s College in Wellington, where he played 1st X1 cricket and also shone in rugby, swimming, table tennis and gymnastics.

A hooker, he began his representative rugby career with Combined Services in 1943. He also represented Wairarapa in 1944, when he played for Featherston’s Army club, and Wellington in 1945.

While in the army, Mr McCormick took up boxing and had the honour of retiring undefeated in the sport before he took up a coaching role.

The Central Hawke’s Bay farmer played 28 games for the Magpies between 1946 and ‘49.

In 1946 he scored a try in a strong performance for the combined Hawke’s Bay-Poverty Bay side against Australia.

In 1947 he played all three of his matches for the All Blacks on a tour of Australia – against New South Wales, Queensland and Combined Northern Districts. He didn’t appear in a test as Waikato’s Has Catley was No. 1 hooker at the time.

Before the Aussie tour, Mr McCormick played in the first All Black trial in Palmerston North and was selected for a second-half appearance in the final trial at Wellington, lasting 10 minutes before receiving a cut head.

Recalling the incident to Hawke’s Bay Rugby Football Union historian Frank Long recently, he said he was reluctant to leave the field but was urged to go by ironman Auckland prop Johnny Simpson who told him: “Get off, you’ve already beaten the other bugger.”

Mr McCormick retired from playing in 1955 and got heavily involved in administration. He served on the Junior Advisory Board of the Central Hawke’s Bay sub-union and from 1980-‘86 was president of the Hawke’s Bay union.

A former Central Hawke’s Bay sub union president, he shone in an arbitration role during Napier-Hastings administration clashes in the ’70s.

He is survived by his wife, Jeune, five children and 10 grandchildren.

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Newspaper article

Date published

14 December 2006


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Has Catley
  • Frank Long
  • Jeune McCormick
  • Jim McCormick
  • Johnny Simpson

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