Bob Scott used to put on halftime barefoot goalkicking
exhibitions but it was what he did during games which won him
even more admirers.
Scott, who was one of the best fullbacks to pull on an All
Blacks jersey, died this morning at his home in the
Coromandel aged 91. He was the oldest living All Black and
that mantle passes to good friend (the pair were best men at
each other's weddings) and former Canterbury wing Wally
"Bob was a much admired player, regarded by many as the
complete fullback who played the game with passion and
courage," New Zealand Rugby Union Chairman Mike Eagle said.
"Many will remember Bob as one of the greatest players to
pull on the No 15 jersey and he was certainly a hugely
popular member of the teams he played for."
Scott played 52 games for the All Blacks, including 17 tests,
after making his debut against Australia in Dunedin in 1946
but initially played rugby league for Ponsonby before
switching to rugby when he joined the army in 1942.
He served in Italy during World War II and afterwards toured
Britain, France, Germany and New Zealand with the New Zealand
Expeditionary Forces team before being picked for the All
Blacks for their first post-war test series against Australia
Scott admitted he wasn't the quickest player, relying more on
instincts and skill, and is generally regarded as being ahead
of his time. He was a running fullback, in an era when most
fullbacks tended to stay at home, and was also a handy
"For me there will never by anyone as great as Scott," former
commentator Winston McCarthy wrote. South African No 8 Hennie
Muller described him as, "Altogether, the greatest footballer
I've ever played against in any position".
Scott initially retired from representative rugby in 1951 but
played one game for Auckland in 1952 and was persuaded to
make himself available for the 1953/54 All Blacks tour to
He had a brilliant tour, playing in all five tests including
the shock defeat to Wales (the last time Wales beat the All
Blacks), and was given a huge ovation when walking off
Cardiff Arms Park after the All Blacks beat the Barbarians
19-5 at the end of the tour.
It was his last major game in an All Black jersey. He ended
his career playing club rugby for Petone - large crowds still
flocked to watch him - and appeared in a number of invitation
teams over the next few seasons.
It was during festival games or at halftime in matches he
would referee that he sometimes gave demonstrations of
barefoot goalkicking, frequently landing goals from halfway.
His best kick was from 65 yards (59.4m) in Hawera. "I had a
pretty good sense of timing," Scott once said.
He was an exceptional allround sportsman. He was a scratch
golfer who played at the New Zealand Open and was also a very
good softballer and would probably have played for New
Zealand if a national team had existed then. He played bowls
to a high standard, and two years ago won the Rugby [bowls]
Tournament in Mt Maunganui.
Outside of rugby, Scott ran a successful menswear shop in
Petone - his assistant there was Andy Leslie, who later
became an All Black captain - and he also helped
disadvantaged children and served on periodic detention
Scott was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame
in 1990, and in 1995 was awarded an MBE for services to