A New Zealand tourist to Australia as a Linwood prop in 1963, Jim Fisher returned from the international wilderness to earn a Test debut eight years later from Eastern Suburbs and feature at hooker during the 1971 Kiwis’ incredible march through Britain and France.
The 1955-56 Schoolboy Kiwi debuted for Canterbury as an 18-year-old in 1960 and scored three tries in six matches for the Kiwis in Australia in 1963. He also featured in South Island’s win over the ’63 South African tourists.
Fisher represented Canterbury against Australia (1965) and Great Britain (1966), and regularly captained his province. Following a stint with Addington, he moved to Eastern Suburbs and was captain-coach of the club when his Kiwi hiatus ended in 1971.
To make his comeback even more remarkable, Fisher played in the final trial after two days bedridden with influenza. The 30-year-old took the place of Wellington hooker Colin O’Neil, who was the hooker in New Zealand’s previous 18 Tests but withdrew from the tour due to business commitments.
Fisher ultimately played all six Tests on tour as the Kiwis created history with a 2-1 series victory over Great Britain and a 2-0 series win against France (the third Test in Toulouse was drawn).
He toured Australia again in 1972 and played both Tests but ruled himself out of contention for the end-of-season World Cup by retiring from representative football, also making the last of his 42 appearances for Canterbury that year.
Fisher later served as a Canterbury selector in 1975 and coached the provincial team in 1976.
NEW ZEALAND (1963, 1971-72)
8 Tests – 0 points
17 tour matches
-1963 Kiwis tour of Australia
-1971 Kiwis tour of Britain and France
-1972 Kiwis tour of Australia