Wally Wilson becomes life member of Linwood Keas

Wally Wilson. Photo: CRL
Wally Wilson. Photo: CRL
Former Canterbury and Kiwis league player Wally Wilson has been made a life member of the Linwood Keas.

Wilson began playing in the Linwood junior grades as a 10-year-old in 1962 and represented Canterbury at age group level. He was also selected in the New Zealand Under-17s team.

He made his for the club’s premier team in 1971 and went on to play more than 400 games for Linwood over 15 seasons. He was also a try-scorer in the 1974 grand final loss to Papanui.

Wilson made his senior debut for Canterbury in 1973 and went on to captain his province in 30 of his 40 appearances – including the watershed defeat of Auckland in 1975 and the match against Wales the same year.

Wilson made the first of seven appearances for South Island in 1979 and skippered the side against Central Districts in 1981 with West Coast and New Zealand incumbent No 7 Gordon Smith out injured.

Smith’s absence saw Wilson called up to the Kiwis’ squad for the home series against France.

Auckland’s Shane Varley claimed the starting halfback role for both clashes but the then 28-year-old Wilson came off the bench late in the 25-2 victory in the second test at Carlaw Park.

After hanging up the boots, Wilson branched out into coaching. He was a selector for the highly successful Canterbury team of the early-1990s.

He then assumed the coaching reins in 1994 when Frank Endacott linked up with the Auckland Warriors.

Wilson was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in 2011 for his contribution to rugby league and surf lifesaving.

He continues to serve as chairperson of the Canterbury Rugby League board.

By Will Evans
Canterbury Rugby League