Goalkicking back-rower Barry Edkins was a prolific point-scorer for Eastern Suburbs, Hornby, Canterbury and South Island, while he played four Tests for New Zealand in 1979-80 following an unfortunate Kiwis debut.
A Schoolboy Kiwi in 1971, Edkins featured in Eastern Suburbs’ 1975 and 1979-81 premiership triumphs. He was just 18 when he debuted for Canterbury in 1975, making the first of 52 appearances for the province (one short of Mocky Brereton’s record) in which he scored 179 points.
He was the sole Cantabrian of nine new Kiwis chosen for the 1978 tour of Australia and Papua New Guinea. But shortly after being named man-of-the-match on debut against Riverina in Wagga Wagga, the 21-year-old had his jaw broken in a high and late tackle and missed the rest of the tour.
Edkins represented South Island for the first time in 1979; he would go on to set new record for most appearances (29) and points (145), as well as playing against Australia twice (including South Island’s shock 1980 victory), France and Great Britain.
The classy ball-playing forward was selected in a new-look pack for the third Test against the Great Britain tourists in 1979, celebrating in a morale-boosting 18-11 win on Test debut at Carlaw Park. He capped a stellar season by winning the D.V. Syme Rosebowl as CRL Sportsman of the Year.
Edkins started in the second-row in both home Tests against Australia in 1980 before touring Britain and France with the Kiwis. He missed the first two Tests against Great Britain but came into the side for the third (a 10-2 loss at Bradford) following an injury to Tony Coll, among nine appearances on tour.
He joined Hornby in 1982, playing in five straight Grand Finals for the club (extending his all-time records to 10 appearances and 50 points in CRL deciders) before injury ruled him out of the playoffs in 1987.
Edkins, who also had a brief stint representing Wellington and Central Districts in 1983, retired in 1990 with 1,500 points in Canterbury club football. He coached Linwood in the 1994 season.
NEW ZEALAND (1978-80)
4 Tests – 0 points
10 tour matches – 9 goals (18 points)
-1978 Kiwis tour of Australia and Papua New Guinea
-1980 Kiwis tour of Britain and France