Buller Rugby Union

Buller All Blacks

There have been 8 All Blacks selected while playing their club rugby in the Buller Province.

There have also been a number of other All Black players who have played in the Buller but do not officially qualify due to various reasons.

The most recent of these would be former Buller Junior representative Ben Blair, who last played for the All Blacks in 2002.

To officially qualify as a Buller All Black the player must have been playing club or provincial rugby in Buller at the time of his All Black selection.

ResizedImage90130-BlighSSAMUEL BLIGH

(Born 08.01.1887, Died 25.03.1955)

Samuel Bligh was the first All Black from Buller. He went on the tour to Australia in 1910. Bligh managed to accumulate 5 games in the All Black jersey none of which were test matches. An interesting fact about Samuel Bligh was that Bligh’s correct name was Percival Blight but he played under the name Samuel Bligh as he did not want his strongly temperance family, who disapproved of the game, to know he was playing rugby. Bligh played for the Westport club.
Bligh’s representative record
Buller – 11 matches
West Coast – 3 matches
West Coast/Buller – 1 match
South Island – 1 match<
NEW ZEALAND – 5 matches

..ResizedImage90130-FisherT.THOMAS FISHER

(Born 27.05.1891, Died 20.03.1968)

Thomas Fisher was the second All Black from the Buller getting his All Black jersey in 1914. He made 5 appearnces for the All Blacks none of which were test matches. He managed to score 1 try for the All Blacks in a match against New South Wales. Fisher’s rugby career was severly stifled due to the outbreak of World War One but he did manage to tally 34 first class matches by the end of his career. Fisher made the All Blacks from the White Star club.
Fisher’s representative record
Buller – 11 matches
Marlborough – 13 matches
South Island Country – 3 matches
South Island – 2 matches
NEW ZEALAND – 5 matches


(Born 23.08.1893, Died 21.09.1916)

‘Bobby’ Black was originally an Otago representative but represented the South Island from the Buller Union in 1914 (according to the New Zealand Rugby Museum). He played so well in the 8-0 victory over the North Island in 1914 that he was selected in the All Black touring party for the trip to Australia in that same year. The first five eight played for the White Star club in Westport and this club is credited as being the club which Black made the All Blacks from, however he is also listed as being with the Otago province at this time. He made 1 test appearance against Australia amongst his 6 All Black matches. Tragically in 1916 Robert Stanley Black, aged 23, was one of the many New Zealand casualties in the Battle of the Somme.
Black’s representative record
Otago – 12 matches
Buller – 1914
South Island – 2 matches
NEW ZEALAND – 6 matches

.ResizedImage90130-McLeanC..CHARLES MCLEAN

(Born 20.09.1892, Died 07.03.1965)

‘Chas’ Mclean was described as a fine loose forward but like many of his age, his rugby opportunities were limited due to World War One. Probably the greatest achievement of Mclean’s life was the fact that he was a survivor of the Gallipoli campaign and his bravery at Gallipoli earned him the Military Medal. While he only made 5 appearances for the All Blacks, he managed to amass 7 tries in those 5 matches and was considered very unlucky to have never played in a test match. Mclean was the second All Black from the Westport club.
McLean’s representative record
Buller – 15 matches
South Island – 2 matches
NEW ZEALAND – 5 matches


(Born 06.12.1898, Died 07.12.1955)

‘Snowy’ Svenson was Buller’s most prolific All Black. In total he amassed 34 appearances for the All Blacks and scored 94 points, which included an impressive tally of 25 tries. He also featured in 4 test matches all of which were played on the Invincibles tour of 1924-25. He scored 4 tries in his 4 test appearances. Svenson was born in Australia and established his reputation as a fine footballer while playing provincial rugby for Wanganui. From Wanganui he made the North Island side and trialled for New Zealand but it wasn’t until he moved to Westport that he finally made the All Blacks while playing out of the White Star club. He made his All Black debut in 1922.
Svenson’s representative record
Wanganui – 16 matches
Buller – 5 matches
Wellington – 21 matches
Wellington-Manawatu – 1 match
Marlborough – 3 matches
North XV – 1 match
South Island – 1 match
North Island – 3 matches
New Zealand trial teams – 3 matches
NEW ZEALAND – 34 matches

ResizedImage90130-TunnicliffRGROBERT GRAHAM TUNNICLIFF

(Born 25.06.1894, Died 07.01.1973

Tunnicliff was a relatively small man for a rugby player as he stood at 1.75m tall and weighed only 75kg. He did however possess surprising strength and a high work rate which made him an effective hooker in the 1920’s when the 2-3-2 scrum formation was still in use. Although only managing one match for the All Blacks, he did manage to score a try in that game against New South Wales in 1923. Tunnicliff was 29 when he played in this match which is an unusually old age for an All Black to make their debut. Tunnicliff played for the Umere club which was in the Karamea Sub Union.
Tunnicliff’s representative record
Nelson – 1 match
Buller – 24 matches
West Coast/Buller – 1 match
Seddon Shields Districts – 1 match
South Island Minor Unions – 1 match
New Zealand trial teams – 4 matches
NEW ZEALAND – 1 match


(Born 26.07.1908, Died 02.07.1974)

Eddie Holder was a strongly built three quarter who could play both at centre and on the wing. He was also a talented all round sportsman and was well known for his cricketing ability and as a successful athlete. Holder made his All Blacks debut against Newcastle in 1932 but did not play a test match until 1934 when New Zealand drew 3-3 with Australia. Holder managed to play 10 matches for the All Blacks and scored an impressive 9 tries in those 10 matches. Holder later would switch to Rugby League and go on to play for Wigan in the United Kingdom. In 1942 he was reinstated to rugby union and played 2 more games for Buller. Holder was the Westport Old Boys clubs first All Black.
Holder’s representative record
Buller – 42 matches
Seddon Shield Districts – 1 match
South Island XV – 1 match
South Island – 2 matches
New Zealand trial teams – 5 matches
NEW ZEALAND – 10 matches

..ResizedImage90130-MummWJWILLIAM JOHN MUMM Jnr

(Born 26.03.1922, Died 11.12.1993)

Bill Mumm was a prop or loose forward who played in 104 first class matches, 85 of which were for the Buller Union. Mumm made his All Black debut in 1949 and played in the test against Australia which New Zealand lost 6-11. He was selected to play in the second test of the series but due to an unfortunate injury his All Black tally has forever stood at 1 match. Mumm was a great servant to Buller rugby and went on to become a selector/coach from 1960-63 and 1971-74. One of Mumm’s greatest rugby moments was surely his outstanding performance in Buller’s drawn (6-6) Ranfurly Shield challenge against Otago in 1949. Mumm was the Ngakawau clubs only All Black.
Mumm’s representative record
Buller – 85 matches
Buller/Nelson – 1 match
West Coast/Buller – 5 matches
Centurions Club – 1 match
Seddon Shield Districts – 1 match
South Island – 4 matches
New Zealand trial teams – 4 matches
New Zealand XV – 2 matches
NEW ZEALAND – 1 match