Barry gave rebel Fergie run about on behalf of Lions
WHEN he ruled the roost as New Zealand’s full- back, Fergie McCormick worked in the freezing department of a slaughterhouse.
For three years nobody could knock him off his perch until a pair of Welshmen took him to the cleaners at the start of the Lions’ one and only winning series against the All Blacks.
Carwyn James had a plan designed to expose McCormick and the peerless coach also had the supreme executioner at his disposal, Barry John. His tactical kicking, dragging the full-back across the full width of the pitch on one fool’s errand after another, had such a dizzying effect on McCormick that he never played for New Zealand again.
Until that opening Test of the four-match series at Carisbrook in Dunedin, the Kiwis’ last line of defence had been used to getting his own way. A rebel in his youth, McCormick had addressed the subject in an autobiography with the frank admission: “I suppose I was an awful little bastard in those days.’’
He would not have been best pleased at the New Zealand selectors deciding they dared not expose him to further punishment from John after the opening shots of a series which the Lions won 2-1.
McCormick went on playing for Canterbury for another four years and died last week a fortnight before his 79th birthday.