Parsons should have super rugby contract
By SHANE HURNDELL
Former All Blacks lock Robbie Stuart believes Magpie Tom Parsons has done enough to earn a Super Rugby contract.
“What else does Tom have to do to get more recognition?” Stuart asked.
“If one or two of the contracted locks fell over Tom would have to get the call. He's a real mature player who absolutely stood out for the Central club down here when they were struggling and then the Magpies this season. He is a big unit with mobility,” Stuart said.
A Hawke's Bay Magpies selector-coach during the 1984 and ‘85 seasons, Stuart is confident the Magpies will beat Otago in their Mitre 10 Cup Championship semifinal in Dunedin on Saturday night.
“They are improving all the time and have got good depth. When they have had one or two injuries they have been able to recover,” he said.
“The second stringers are doing the business. When they have got the opportunity they have responded.
“I'm really excited for that game. While the Magpies have got to step up they have already done the job down there and that will give them confidence,” he said referring to their round two 31-25 victory in August.
Stuart, 70, who played six games for the All Blacks during the 1977 tour of France, will be inducted into the Central Hawke's Bay Sports Hall of Fame at the CHB Sports Awards function at Waipukurau's AW Parsons Centre on November 2.
“It was tremendous when I got the news. It was one of those happenings in life you get a real buzz from,” Stuart said.
A father of two and grandfather of three who works as a livestock agent for Carrfields Limited, Stuart said he was looking forward to mixing with many of CHB's talented young sportspeople at the function.
He joins fellow former All Black Norm Hewitt (2014), equestrian legend Tiny White (2015), 1972 Olympic Games athlete Tony Polhill (2016) and former Black Fern and current Hawke's Bay Tui Emma Jensen (2017) as recent inductees.
A former Waipukurau HSOB and Napier Technical club player, Stuart played 120 first class games for the Magpies from 1967 to 1980.
Although mostly a lock, Stuart was also a handy prop and this versatility led to his one test cap on the 1977 tour.
To cover lock and prop he was named on the reserve bench for the first test and went on as a replacement when prop Gary Knight was injured.
He also captained the All Blacks in two games on that tour.
A Napier Boys' High School old boy, Stuart made his Magpies debut as a 19 year old in 1967. That season he was named as one of the five promising players of the season by the Rugby Almanack.
Central Design and Print have supported the CHB awards and Hall of Fame category for more than two decades.
“Central Design and Print have had great pride with being involved in the sports awards over the last 23 years,” director Bruce Doran said.
Television presenter and former Black Fern Melodie Robinson will be guest speaker at the function.
Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased online at www.sporthbchb.net.nz or at the AW Parsons Pool Reception.
MC Keith Quinn and Robbie Stuart, i 2016 when Stuart was inducted into the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Football Union Hall of Fame.