The June Club Otago lunch was a celebration of some of the most memorable days of Otago rugby.
Otago is the most successful of the New Zealand provinces against the British & Irish Lions, beating the tourists on four occasions – in 1950, ’59, ’66 and ’93. The lunch signalled an opportunity to salute those glory days by bringing players from those teams together for the first time.
A crowd of 330 acknowledged the oldest living All Black, Ron Elvidge who captained Otago in 1950 and was then able to applaud players from 1959, ’66 and ’93 who were present.
Attending from the 26-8 win in 1959 were Vic Lloyd, Tom Jopson, Sam Leary, Tuppy Diack, Ian Stevens and Dave Johnston. There from the 1966 team, which won its match 17-9, were Maurie Collins, Don Clark, Paul Booth, Don Peddie, Ken Prain and John Levido, while the ’93 team was represented by John Leslie, Nick Moore, Mike Mika, John Timu, Stu Forster, Arran Pene, Josh Kronfeld and David Latta. Otago won the ’93 game 37-24.
Old team sheets, grainy footage and player biographies and anecdotes were the order of the day with Kronfeld then speaking on behalf of all players, past and present.
That night, the Highlanders write the first chapter in their own tradition against touring sides by toppling the Lions 23-22 at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.