West Coast great and New Zealand Team of the Century hooker Jock Butterfield played the first chunk of his record 99 games and then-record 36 Tests for the Kiwis while playing for Sydenham and Canterbury.
Born in Taylorville, Butterfield cut his teeth with the Brunner club before transferring to Sydenham in 1953. He played for South Island against Australia that year and for South Island and Canterbury against Great Britain the following season. Butterfield made a tryscoring Test debut against the 1954 Lions as a second-rower.
The 22-year-old was part of the Kiwis’ squad for the inaugural World Cup in France in 1954, featuring in matches against Australia and Great Britain.
Butterfield featured in the first Test against France at Carlaw Park in 1955 but was omitted for the second clash following the 19-9 loss. He was chosen for the Kiwis’ tour of Britain and France at the end of the season, however, and played two Tests against Great Britain at hooker following injuries to Lory Blanchard and Trevor Kilkelly.
He scored a try in New Zealand’s third-Test win at Headingley and crossed in two Tests against France after returning to the second-row.
Butterfield made the Test hooker position his own from 1956, playing all three Tests on the tour of Australia. He appeared in all three of the Kiwis’ matches at the 1957 World Cup and scored two tries in their post-tournament Test fixture against Britain-France.
Returning to the West Coast and Brunner, the 26-year-old played in both Tests against the 1958 Great Britain tourists and all three Tests on the 1959 tour of Australia. He scored his seventh and last Test try in a 28-12 dead-rubber win over the green-and-golds at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The home series against France and World Cup in 1960 and the series-opening win against Australia in Auckland in 1961 took Butterfield’s run of consecutive Test appearances to 20, but he missed the second-Test loss with injury.
A tremendous ball-winner during the heyday of competitive scrums, Butterfield was also renowned for his vision and ball-playing ability around the rucks.
Butterfield made his second tour of Britain and France with the 1961-62 Kiwis – playing five of the six Tests – and overtook the New Zealand record of his former captain, Cliff Johnson, with his 35th Test appearance on the 1963 tour of Australia. A rib injury that ruled Butterfield out of the series opener ultimately contributed to leaving him one short of a century of games for his country.
The 32-year-old was belatedly cleared to move to Australia and take up a contract with Manly-Warringah in 1964. He played 10 first-grade matches for the Sea Eagles before spending the next eight years as a captain-coach on the NSW and Queensland country scenes with Leeton (1965), Mount Isa (1966-69) and Cloncurry (1970-72).
An inaugural inductee to the NZRL Legends of League in 1995, Butterfield passed away in Brisbane in 2004, aged 72. He was named at hooker in the Kiwis’ Team of the Century – one of only three South Islanders in the line-up alongside West Coast five-eighth George Menzies and Canterbury lock Mel Cooke.
NEW ZEALAND (1954-63)
36 Tests – 7 tries (21 points)
63 tour matches – 6 tries, 2 goals (22 points)
-1954 Kiwis’ World Cup squad
-1955-56 Kiwis’ tour of Britain and France
-1956 Kiwis’ tour of Australia
-1957 Kiwis’ World Cup squad
-1959 Kiwis’ tour of Australia
-1960 Kiwis’ World Cup squad
-1961-62 Kiwis’ tour of Britain and France
-1963 Kiwis’ tour of Australia