28 Earle Kir­ton [1963-1970] CAPS 13

NZ Rugby World - - Brand Standing -

No mat­ter what else he achieved on his come­back tour to Bri­tain and France in 1967, Earle Kir­ton had a date with des­tiny at the Rodney Pa­rade Ground when the side met Mon­mouthshire.

Four years ear­lier, Kir­ton had been play­ing his first game in black when the All Blacks su ered the only loss of their 1963-64 tour and Kir­ton, rightly or wrongly, wore most of the blame.

He spent three years in the wilder­ness be­fore coach Fred Allen saw him as the player he needed to spark the run­ning game he wanted the All Blacks to play in 1967.

Kir­ton rose to the chal­lenge, most em­phat­i­cally in the side’s first test against Eng­land, when he ran the play su­perbly, scor­ing two tries to set a rugby revo­lu­tion un­der­way.

He car­ried on through un­til 1970 when the magic wore o and he headed to Eng­land to con­tinue his den­tal stud­ies.

While with the Har­lequins club he de­vel­oped the coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that would be put to use by Welling­ton and then as an All Blacks as­sis­tant coach with Lau­rie Mains dur­ing the 1990s.

Kir­ton was a dis­ci­ple of Allen, who had links with Kir­ton’s own men­tor Vic Cavanagh, and he passed their mes­sage on with en­thu­si­asm dur­ing his coach­ing years.

And as for Mon­mouthshire? Allen told Kir­ton he knew why he had picked him for that game and to go out and ex­or­cise his demons. He did that by scor­ing a su­perb in­di­vid­ual try and the All Blacks took the win 23-12.

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