Team Profile :

All Blacks

Mr. Stu Wilson :

Born at Gore in 1954 but educated in Masterton, Stu Wilson was a powerful 1.83 metre, 86kg centre or wing. Joining Old Boys in 1973 he was a popular member of the Club. Giving up smoking in 1973 his Rugby career changed dramatically. Doug Catley made him captain of the Seniors, later he was selected for NZ Colts, Wellington, North Island and the All Blacks 1976 tour of Argentina.

Although demands of provincial and national Rugby curtailed his appearances for Old Boys he turned out for the Old Boys Club whenever he could and gave freely of his time to encourage younger players. The day after the 1983 Dunedin Lions test Old Boys had its first Jubilee Cup match. Stu skipped the official test dinner and with some difficulty, switched his air tickets to fly home to play for Old Boys. He scored a try helping Old Boys beat Athletic.

In a distinguished Rugby career he scored more than fifty tries for the All Blacks, Two in his first match wearing the black jersey. For several years his nineteen test tries were an All Black record.

He was only the twelfth man in NZ Rugby history to score more than one hundred first class tries - 104 in total - many of them brilliant, exciting efforts. Stu's record was achieved when coaches concentrated on ten man Rugby with the ball seldom getting to the wings. In some matches Stu only handled the ball three of four times but a try often eventuated.

He was a NZ Colt and in 1975 was selected for Wellington B. After only two games he was a permanent fixture in the representative A side for the next nine years. In his first full season for Wellington Stu scored sixteen tries in fifteen games. Playing 89 first class games for Wellington he was captain during 1981, which included victory over Scotland.

Noted for his sense of humour and light hearted attitude Stu carried this into his play making scoring tries in top Rugby look much easier than it is. Among his entertaining displays was a hat trick of tries against the British Isles at Eden Park in 1983. He also achieved a hat trick there against Scotland in 1981.

Stu wore the All Black jersey 85 times and appeared in 34 tests. He made nine overseas tours, including that with the 1978 Grand Slam team which beat all four Home Unions. He was captain in all eight matches of the 1983 tour of England and Scotland.

Stu Wilson made many friends among international players during his career, which took him to thirteen different Rugby playing countries, so had no difficulty raising an International Invitation XV to play Wellington in his last official match, a fund raiser for the Al Keown Memorial Trust.

He retired from all Rugby, still in his prime in 1984. His retirement was sparked by controversy over a book he co-authored with fellow All Black wing Bernie Fraser. Under IRB rules players were not allowed to accept book royalties. Many had adopted various subterfuges to get round this.

Stu Wilson refused to do so. The Club Management Committee gave him its full backing and repeated its call to the Rugby Union to press for a rule change. In public statement our then Club Chairman asked what the IRB stand would be if Stu's book had been about great golf courses he had played - during Rugby tours. The early retirement was a loss to WCOB and to NZ Rugby.

A real estate agent Stu Wilson also works as a radio and television rugby commentator.

Mr. Steve Mcdowell :

At his best in the late 1980s Steve McDowell as a loosehead prop ranked among the world's best and among the finest in the position produced by New Zealand.

Though not tall and under 1.83m McDowell was an extremely powerful man with his physique honed from his other sport, judo, in which he also won national honours, and his constant workouts with weights in gyms.

He was an excellent scrummager, a superb mauler and explosive when he burst frequently into the open, especially in his halcyon years between 1985 and 1990.

The bulk of McDowell's representative career was with Auckland but he was a Bay of Plenty product and was one of a fine group of players from around Rotorua who emerged at around the same time such as Wayne Shelford and Hika Reid.

McDowell entered the Bay of Plenty representative side in 1982 and played 35 matches for the union over the next three seasons, adding to that tally with a sole appearance when briefly back in the Bay in 1989.

McDowell impressed for the Bay in a number of high profile games against the Lions in 1983 and in a narrow Ranfurly Shield loss to Canterbury in 1984. In each of the 1982 and 1984 seasons he was in respectively the national colts side and the New Zealand juniors, making inevitable a transfer to one of the country's bigger unions.

He joined Auckland in 1985 and with selection in the Emerging Players and the All Black trials he emerged as a test contender. He was duly chosen for the tour of South Africa and when this was called off went instead on the replacement tour of Argentina, where he made his test debut.

In his first season with Auckland McDowell participated in the successful Ranfurly Shield challenge against Canterbury, scoring a crucial try. Over the next seven seasons McDowell was an Auckland mainstay and was involved in all of the province's triumphs of the late 80s at Ranfurly Shield and NPC levels.

At the same time he became a stalwart of All Black sides, his career suffering only a minor glitch when he incurred a two-test suspension for going with the Cavaliers on the rebel tour of South Africa in 1986. He formed a mighty front row with fellow Aucklanders Sean Fitzpatrick and John Drake during the 1987 World Cup and then when Drake retired prematurely Fitzpatrick and McDowell formed another celebrated front row with Richard Loe.

There were some outstanding tours in this period in which this trio were dominant, to Australia in 1988, Wales and Ireland in 1989 and to France in 1990. But by the time of the 1991 World Cup some of the momentum was fast fading from what had been a formidable team and in 1992, having had 81 All Black matches including 46 tests, McDowell suddenly disappeared from the national side.

Under new coach Laurie Mains he retained his place for the centenary matches early in 1992 and for the series against the touring Irish. But he was supplanted for the tests on the Australian-South Africa tour with Olo Brown emerging and Loe switching to McDowell's spot on the loosehead side of the scrum. McDowell's only consolation was captaining the midweek All Blacks, albeit to a big loss to Sydney.

In 1993 McDowell also faded from Auckland sides with Brown and Craig Dowd the preferred props. In 1994 he moved to Wellington and had 10 games for that union. He then had a lengthy period overseas returning in 1998 at the age of 37 and with little regular play behind him to make three appearances for Auckland bringing his tally for the union to 109.

McDowell between 1988 and 1992 was a frequent New Zealand Maori player, captaining that side in 1991 and 1992. In all first class rugby he played 294 matches.

Mr. Bernie Fraser :

Though Bernie Fraser was a school boy star when he attended Auckland's St Paul's College he took a surprisingly long time to establish himself as a regular representative player. Coming to Wellington in 1973, Fraser suffered a broken leg early in his debut season and the following year his season was disrupted for a lengthy period again when he copped a suspension after being ordered off in a club game.

When Fraser did crack the Wellington representative team it was only for occasional appearances in the 1975-76 seasons. Then Wellington coach Ray Dellabarca did not appreciate Fraser's casual attitude to discipline and in 1975 he got only three starts and in 1976, despite two tries when New Zealand Marist met Wellington, was given just the one game.

Only when Petone stalwart Ian Upston took over the Wellington side in 1977 was there a change in Fraser's fortunes. He played 12 games that year including the 13-6 loss to the Lions and after a brief stint back in his home town of Tokoroa early in the year continued his advance in 1978. He had a starring role in Wellington's national championship win that season and in one NPC match scored four tries against Canterbury.

By 1979 Fraser, even though at a relatively advanced age of 26, clearly had an All Black future and he duly made his debut in the two unofficial tests against Argentina which was followed by the tour to England and and Scotland and his first full internationals.

His international aspirations suffered a temporary setback when he, along with several others, had a disappointing tour of Australia in 1980. But back in the Wellington environment he regained confidence and starting with the end of season 1980 tour of Wales his All Black place was assured for the next three seasons.

He was part of a fine Wellington quartet, with fellow three quarter Stu Wilson, fullback Allan Hewson and No 8 Murray Mexted, which had a fabulous 1981, including the series win over the Springboks and for the province the NPC-Ranfurly Shield double.

By now Fraser had become something of a cult figure in Wellington forming a lethal partnership with his close friend Wilson. Where one (Wilson) was fair and light featured, Fraser, of Fijian ancestry, was dark and dusky and the physical contrast provided a lovely title for their joint 1984 biography, "Ebony and Ivory".

At Athletic Park, such was Fraser's ability to score tries with regularity in a particular part of the ground, the south east corner was dubbed, "Bernie's Corner." When he retired from top rugby in 1986 he had scored 105 tries in 124 Wellington appearances and his 171 tries from his 201 first class matches was the New Zealand record at the time.

But Fraser never quite repeated his feats for Wellington on the international stage, even though he had a worthy All Black career, finishing with 55 matches including 23 tests. His tally of six test tries, however, was only modest and in the standing of test wings of the past 25 years he would rate behind not only Stu Wilson, John Kirwan, Jonah Lomu, Jeff Wilson and Doug Howlett but probably Craig Green and Terry Wright, too.

Yet for all his failings Fraser was always a bright, entertaining player who gave his province and country exemplary service.

Fraser's All Black career ended in 1984, by which time he had been supplanted by Kirwan, and his involvement on his swan song, the 1984 tour of Australia, only came as a mid tour replacement for an injured Kirwan. Fraser continued to play for Wellington until early 1986 and that year he made the Cavaliers' rebel tour of South Africa, though only as a replacement for the unavailable Kirwan. Fraser, halfback Andrew Donald and replacement hooker John Mills were the three Cavaliers who had not been chosen in 1985 for the aborted All Black tour of the republic.

Mr. Iain Brewster :

Originally from near Inverness, in the north of Scotland, Iain now lives in Bangkok with his wife and two daughters, having arrived from a posting in Istanbul which finished in February 2004.  He is a Director in the performance improvement team of PricewaterhouseCoopers Thailand, and is hoping to put some of his wide variety of skills to use on the back of an elephant.

He originally trained for a career as a biochemist after a promising soccer career was ruined through injury, but then joined a Highland infantry regiment in the British Army where he competed in international biathlon and cross country skiing events in Norway, Sweden and Austria (including the 90 km Vasalopet ski marathon).  After seeing some 'exciting moments' around the world, including working as a chemical warfare officer in the first Gulf War and passing out as the top sniper instructor, Iain and his wife took a year off to travel.  More excitement followed in Tahiti, Cambodia, Laos and Uzbekistan.  He moved into business consulting after completing his masters degree in London.  While on secondment to Argentina and Brazil with PwC, Iain learned to ride and then started to play horse polo.  Although he has no horse polo handicap, his enthusiasm for polo remains, and he is delighted to take the opportunity to try a variation of the sport, albeit on slightly larger animals.   He is a keen sportsman, playing tennis and soccer regularly and has recently started playing golf.  He is a PADI scuba instructor, qualified pilot, and is game for anything, from free-fall parachuting to heli-skiing. While working at PwC in Bangkok, Iain has recently been focused on business project management and process improvement.  It remains to be seen whether his broad knowledge and general management skills combined with his flexibility will be what is needed on the back of an elephant, but he is willing to find out.


Kings Cup Elephant Polo Tournament 2004, Hua Hin Thailand