Marist Old Boys prop/second-rower Bill Devine debuted for New Zealand in his first season after switching from rugby union and later toured Britain with the 1926-27 squad from South Canterbury.
Devine was part of the Marist rugby union club’s defection to rugby league in 1924 and was called up to New Zealand’s team for the second Test against the touring Englishman that year, featuring in the second-row in a 13-11 victory at the Basin Reserve.
After moving to Timaru and captaining South Canterbury in 1925, Devine became the province’s only Kiwi when selected for the troubled tour of Britain the following season. Devine was in the thick of the controversy, playing nine games – including the second Test against England at Hull and the one-off clash with Wales at Pontypridd – before being among a group of players to strike following a series of confrontations with management.
With six others, he was handed a life suspension upon his return home. The long-serving policeman was reinstated by the NZRL in 1962 – six years after his death.
NEW ZEALAND (1924, 1926-27)
3 Tests – 0 points
7 tour matches – 2 tries (6 points)
-1926-27 New Zealand tour of Britain