Selections & Collections, Cardiff

Sat 05 December 2020, 15:00 PM - Cardiff Saleroom, South Wales

Lot 485

AN ALL BLACKS RUGBY UNION JERSEY MATCH WORN BY LEGENDARY FULL BACK BOB SCOTT MBE (1921-2012) KNOWN AS ‘BAREFOOT BOB’ in traditional black with white collar with single button, white number 1 to reverse, and stitched badge of embroidered Silver Fern on black felt background, bears label for Canterbury Sports. To accompany ‘The Bob Scott Story’ by R W H Scott and T P Mclean (Herbert Jenkins 1956) Auctioneer's Note: Robert William Henry Scott, better known as Bob Scott or by the nickname 'Barefoot Bob', is one of rugby's most celebrated players. He played 52 matches for New Zealand including 17 Tests from 1946 to 1954. Throughout the illustrious history of New Zealand rugby there have been All Black players who have stood apart from the crowd. We think of era defining players such as Dave Gallaher at the beginning of the twentieth century, George Nepia in the interwar years, and then following the war there is - Bob Scott. Rugby commentator, the late Winston McCarthy, regarded as 'The Voice of New Zealand Rugby' said of Scott, 'there will never be anyone as great’. Even the legendary Maori fullback Nepia, regarded as the greatest ever fullback before the Second World War, said that there was no other player to touch Bob Scott. While one of the Springbok's most celebrated No.8s, Hennie Muller, referred to Bob Scott as 'altogether, the greatest footballer I've ever played....in any position'. Scott was a player with flair. He had magnificent control and reading of the game, a deceiving swerve, a feint side-step, and superb running ability to beat the most robust of defences. He was also famously a tremendous ball-kicker from the hands and with a place kick. He was as sturdy in defence as he was dangerous in attack. In fact, in his eponymous 'Bob Scott on Rugby' instruction manual he considered 'attack' to be the 'art of rugby football'. Hennie Muller also said, 'He loved coming into the line and his speed and elusiveness were such that he was always a danger'. The Rugby Almanack of 1950 described Scott as the fullback of the year with ‘coolness amounting at times to audacity, and ability to extricate his side from tight corners with length and accurate touch-finding. Scott possesses attributes none could equal’. Bob Scott toured with the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces team that toured Europe after the war in 1945-46. He made his All Blacks debut in 1946 against Australia and he toured South Africa in 1949, playing in all four tests. He also a played in all four tests against the British Lions in 1950, this was the first British Touring party to be coined The Lions and the first to wear the iconic red jersey. In the final test at Eden Park, Auckland, he scored a memorable drop goal from behind the half-way line. He also made the 1954 tour of Britain, France, Ireland and North America. He performed brilliantly on that tour, playing in all five tests including the shock defeat to Wales (Wales’ last victory against the All Blacks). He was given a huge ovation when walking off Cardiff Arms Park after the All Blacks beat the Barbarians at the end of the tour. By his retirement, Bob Scott had scored a then record of 840 points in first-class rugby. His All Blacks playing record was 17 Test matches, winning ten and drawing one, while amassing 74 points personally. He was a servant of Ponsonby RFC, Petone RFC and the Auckland region. In 1990, he was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, and was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1995 for services to rugby and his community. The Bob Scott story is a remarkable one as the odds were very much against him from the start; he was a child of the great depression of the 1930s. His father had been chronically wounded at Gallipoli, the painful injuries remaining with him throughout his life. The family lived in the wild mountainous region of Tangaraku and Ohura, around 200 miles South of Auckland. Bob’s father had low paid employment and they lived in makeshift accommodation. Bob Scott remembered that as a child he was often hungry, cold and walked to school barefoot. At the age of five, Bob Scott contracted polio but recovered well. He then started to play rugby at school – barefooted and learning that by doubling-up his big toe, Bob could even kick barefooted. He recalled that he was a better place-kicker barefooted than with his boots on! Later in his life, witnesses say that he could kick a goal barefooted from the half-way line and would do so to please the crowds when egged on during rugby festivals. In 1930, at the age of nine, at the height of the Great Depression, Bob’s parents broke-up and he was sent to a Salvation Army children’s home. His parents reconciled in 1932, but it was short-lived and consequently all Bob’s siblings were sent to a children’s home in Auckland while Bob lived with his father in the city – first in a single bedroom and then in a shack at a back of someone’s house, where they lived on a diet of rice. In the winter of 1934, when Bob was thirteen, the New Zealand depression was lifting, but Bob’s father died of cancer. So, he went to live with his mother and the family. At first, he worked, still a child, in a warehouse, and then the family moved back to the bush where they began share-milking. The Second World War broke out when Bob was eighteen and he enlisted. He joined the Second New Zealand Division in Egypt and while overseas his tragic childhood was punctuated by his mother dying. He explained that it was this difficult childhood that shaped him, that he always felt different to others. He was suspicious of anything positive in his life and felt that he was never going to be given anything - he had to work for everything to survive. These are the traits that shaped his inner steel and determination on the field of play. In later life, Bob Scott did not forget the hardship of his childhood, raising invaluable funds for disadvantage children in New Zealand. Provenance: consigned in Ireland, from the collection of the late Jack Kyle OBE (1926 - 2014), one of Ireland's most famous players. The two players swapped jerseys on one of the five occasions that they faced each other. Each time Jack Kyle played against the All Blacks, Scott was at full-back, thus wearing No.1. The occasions in which Scott played full-back for the All Blacks against Jack Kyle were on each of the Tests on the British Lions tour of New Zealand in 1950 and at Dublin for Ireland v New Zealand in 1954 when Jack Kyle captained Ireland. In Bob Scott’s account of the 1950 Lions tour in the accompanying biography, it is clear how strongly Scott considered Kyle to be the star of the touring side. Little wonder therefore that the two greats came to swap jerseys. Condition Report: the jersey is in immaculate original condition; the jersey was treasured by Jack Kyle, given the great respect and admiration both men had for each other. It has not been displayed so has not faded or suffered from pinholes or long-term folds. The book belonged to Jack Kyle.

Guide price
£12000 - £18000

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