A prolific tryscoring centre for Eastern Suburbs and Sydenham, Bruce Dickison played six Tests for New Zealand on two trips to Britain and France – five years apart.
Dickison was earmarked for the game’s heights as a teenager, representing the Kiwi Schoolboys in 1968 and several New Zealand age-group teams. He came through the grades at Eastern Suburbs, breaking in the premiers side in 1972 before debuting for Canterbury – the first of 21 appearances for his province – a year later and representing South Island XIII against Great Britain in 1974.
Dickison starred in Eastern Suburbs’ maiden championship success in 1975, scoring two tries (among a competition-high 27 for the season) and kicking two goals in the 27-2 Grand Final victory over Papanui – the only year between 1971 and ’78 the black-and-golds did not carry off the Pat Smith Trophy.
The 22-year-old was subsequently chosen in the Kiwis’ tour squad for the second half of the 1975 World Championship Series. On the back of a three-try debut against South-West France in Pau, he received a Test call-up to play on the wing against France. After the 12-all draw in Marseille, Dickison retained his spot on the flank for the 27-12 loss to England in Bradford, before coming off the bench against Wales.
Business commitments impacted Dickison’s football career in subsequent seasons, but he scored both of South Island’s tries in a win over Sydney Metropolitan in 1976 before joining Sydenham in 1977. He won the D.V. Syme Rosebowl as CRL Sportsman of the Year in 1978, and helped Sydenham to Grand Final appearances in 1978 and ’80. The stylish three-quarter also played in South Island’s upset of Australia in 1980 and was subsequently an unused replacement for New Zealand in the second Test against the tourists.
Dickison was chosen in the Kiwis’ squad to tour Britain and France later that year, scoring two tries in nine minor tour matches. He played in the centres in the first-Test draw and third-Test loss against Great Britain, before coming off the bench in the series-opening loss to France.
Though the tour marked the end of Dickison’s rep career, he was a presence on the Canterbury club scene until 1985. He played for Papanui in 1983 and coached Eastern in 1985 before hanging up the boots.
Dickison finished with a mighty tally of 125 tries in the CRL premiership, second only to Mocky Brereton.
NEW ZEALAND (1975, 1980)
6 Tests – 0 points
-1975 Kiwis World Championship Series tour
-1980 Kiwis tour of Britain and France