Veteran Linwood and Canterbury halfback Wally Wilson played one Test as a replacement against France in 1981.

A champion amateur boxer before becoming a prominent player on the CRL scene, Wilson began playing in the Linwood junior grades as a 10-year-old and represented Canterbury at age-group level as well as winning selection for the New Zealand Under-17s team.

Wilson made his senior debut for Canterbury in 1973 and went on to captain his province in 30 of his 40 appearances – including the watershed defeat of Auckland in 1975 and the match against Wales the same year. He was also a try-scorer in Linwood’s loss to the dominant Papanui combination in the 1974 Grand Final.

Wilson made the first of seven appearances for South Island in 1979 and skippered the side against Central Districts in 1981 with West Coast and New Zealand incumbent No.7 Gordon Smith out injured.

Smith’s absence saw Wilson called up to the Kiwis’ squad for the home series against France, but Auckland’s Shane Varley claimed the starting halfback role for both clashes. The 28-year-old Wilson came on late in the 25-2 victory in the second Test at Carlaw Park.

A selector for the highly successful Canterbury team of the early-1990s, Wilson assumed the coaching reins in 1994 when Endacott linked with the Auckland Warriors.

Wilson has been a tireless off-field servant to multiple sports and was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in 2011 for his contribution to rugby league and surf lifesaving. He later became chairperson of the Canterbury Rugby League board.


1 Test – 0 points

Wally Wilson (left) receiving his QSM Medal in 2011