Otago blazer photo finally organised

From left, Sam Anderson-Heather, of Dunedin, John Anderson, of Alexandra, and Simon Anderson, of...
From left, Sam Anderson-Heather, of Dunedin, John Anderson, of Alexandra, and Simon Anderson, of Tauranga, at John Anderson's 80th birthday party in Alexandra on Saturday. Photo by Leith Huffadine.
A prop, a winger, and a hooker walk into a bar. What do you get? Answer: three generations of Otago representative rugby players from one family.

On Saturday, John Anderson (80), Simon Anderson (51) and Sam Anderson-Heather (26) got together for John Anderson's 80th birthday.

It was a special day for more than one reason.

The trio have previously tried to get a group photo of themselves in their Otago blazers - but Simon forgot his.

This time, they got the photo.

John, who played for Otago between 1955 and 1964 as a prop and hooker, said although they saw each other often, they decided they needed to bring their blazers along.

''I could tip over at any time and we would never get it [a photo], would we?''

Rugby is in the family. Another member, Shane Anderson, plays for Waikato, Sam's father played for Hawkes Bay, and there have been two All Blacks as well. Both were called Tom Lynch - father and son.

Sam, who has played hooker for Otago since 2009, with 33 appearances, said it was hard to avoid the sport in the family.

''We are always talking rugby when we are together. Even when you don't want to.''

He said the exploits of his grandfather playing for Otago helped inspire him to take up a professional rugby career.

It was similar for Simon Anderson, a midfielder for Otago between 1986 and 1989. He had wanted to play for Otago ever since he started donning his dad's old jerseys to play backyard rugby after school as a child.

John Anderson is proud.

''I think it's a pretty good effort.''

They all have different tales to tell of their times as Otago players.

Rugby has changed over the years.

John remembers travelling on tour by bus, train and boat, while Sam often flies.

Back then, they used to play three games a week, Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend.

Now they play only one.

However, Simon said the quality of pitches had changed, as well as the way the game was played.

Sam talked about the change to professionalism, with players focusing purely on the sport.

''I think there are only three workers in our team now.''

One thing they agreed has not changed during the three generations - the pride of wearing the Otago jersey.


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