Crushers: Ageless team of Christchurch retirement home residents go on tour

The Crushers put down a scrum at Dan Carter’s former home. Photo: Supplied
The Crushers put down a scrum at Dan Carter’s former home. Photo: Supplied
Peter Smith is 82 years-old and is still part of a rugby team. A team of supporters, that is.

The team call themselves the Crushers, a group of rugby-mad Lady Wigram Retirement Village residents who get together to watch rugby and any other sports they are interested in.

Smith said the Crushers have followed the Crusaders most recent Super Rugby season closely, attending two home games and watching the others live on TV.

He said a recent highlight for 17 of the Crushers was visiting the Southbridge house where Dan Carter grew up, seeing the goal posts on the section where he used to practice kicking, and getting a tour of Southbridge’s rugby clubrooms.

The full team including wives and supporters. Photo: Supplied
The full team including wives and supporters. Photo: Supplied
About 30 Lady Wigram residents are part of the team.

Some are ardent rugby fans and some watch less often.

Many of the Crushers played sport at a high level in their younger days, and Smith and others still get out to pass the rugby ball around.

Smith trialled for the Kiwis rugby league team, other team members played senior rugby, one played hockey for New Zealand, and two are golfers who have earned red coats for representing their clubs for more than 25 years.

Pat Smith. Photo: File
Pat Smith. Photo: File
Smith is the son of Pat Smith, who captained the Kiwis in each of his 38 appearances between 1947-49.

Smith said members enjoy the social aspect of the group and the friendships they have made through watching rugby and other sports.

“We enjoy the discussion and the comradeship and we often talk about games that we were in and bits and pieces. It is the comradeship of having something in common, I think, that’s our biggest thing.

“Mostly, we’re averaged at over 80. The more you can keep your mind occupied and [have] friendship, it does help you.”

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