Gary KNIGHT

Gary Knight - New Zealand - International rugby career for Australia.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 25 October 1978

Click on image to enlarge

    • POSITION
      Prop
    • DATE OF BIRTH
      Sunday, 26 August 1951
    • PLACE OF BIRTH
      Wellington, New Zealand.
  • INTERNATIONAL
  • New Zealand

Gary KNIGHT - New Zealand - International rugby career for Australia.

                                                       (Part 1) 1977-80.

 

In the second half of the 1970s the All Blacks exerted an iron grip on British rugby in revenge for famous defeats suffered at the hands of various Anglo/Celtic sides in the early part of the decade. Indeed, between 1976 and 1981, New Zealand played British teams on no fewer than fourteen occasions home and away and lost only one match, that being the third Lions test in '77. This dominance was partially based on granite forward power, of which Gary Knight became an integral part. Indeed, the Manawatu prop forward would go on to form a front row partnership with Andy Dalton and John Ashworth that rivalled the so called "Vient Gwent" of Faulkner, Windsor and Price. The New Zealand threesome would eventually earn an affectionate title of their own, "The Geriatrics".

 

Gary's introduction to international rugby was eventful to say the least. He made his bow in the first test of a fractious tour to France in 1977 when he lined up against the huge Gerard Cholley, an amateur boxer with a reputation for dirty play. In a successful attempt to remove Knight from the game, Cholley almost blinded the New Zealander by poking him in both eyes after a lineout, leaving the Kiwi with a torn eyelid. It was a disgraceful incident reminiscent of Wallaby prop Steve Finnane's vicious assault on Graham Price in the 1978 test between Australia and Wales. Gary would go on to tour the UK twice between 1978 and 1980 as New Zealand brushed aside their northern hemisphere opposition with ease. The Welsh Centenary Test Match in 1980 at Cardiff Arms Park was probably the finest performance of that particular side, with the All Blacks running out 23-3 winners. Billed as an even contest between the best in the world, the match became an annihilation, and many watching former All Blacks even rated the victory as the finest New Zealand performance of all time. (Jon Collins)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gary Knight is pictured above playing for Australia on16th April 1986. Photo G. Herringshaw. ©

 

                                                                    (Part 2) 1981-86

The 1981 series between New Zealand and South Africa will be remembered for a long time, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. The presence of the Springboks on New Zealand soil caused outrage amongst certain sections of the population and the tour was marred from start to finish by protests. In the final test at Auckland, a Cessna light aircraft made repeated sorties over the stadium, strafing the pitch with flower bombs, one of which scored a direct hit on Gary Knight. The Wellington born prop was temporarily stunned and the referee offered both captains the option of stopping the game. However, play continued, with New Zealand eventually running out narrow 25-22 victors in what was a nailbiting contest. After earlier scoring the only try of his international career, and a crucial one at that, Gary must have felt a little hard done by. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the last official series between the two nations for more than ten years.

 

By 1983 Gary and his fellow front rowers Ashworth and Dalton had become an institution, and their title of "the Geriatrics" was based on their longevity in the side rather than any doubts about their athleticism! New Zealand's back play in this era was below previous standards and many of their victories were by the narrowest of margins. Therefore, the importance of the All Black's forward power cannot be overestimated. The Geriatrics contributed to several series wins during this era, including convincing triumphs over the British Lions, Australia and England. Gary would also duel again with the Lions in a special one off match against the Rest of the World in 1986 (see photo above). Unfortunately, time caught up with the respected front row trio and none of them would participate in the 1987 World Cup. Ashworth played his last test in 1985, whilst Gary's career ended a year later. Meanwhile, the last survivor of the three, Andy Dalton, would have played if not denied by injury. Gary, or "Axle" as he became known, played 36 tests in total for New Zealand, with his final appearance coming against Australia in Auckland. Outside of rugby he was a farmer by trade and a Commonwealth Games standard wrestler. (Jon Collins)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

New Zealand Caps 1977-1986. 

Career Record: Played 36, Won 27, Lost 9

Test Points: 4.  Tries: 1

 

1977 v France (Toulouse) L 18-13

1977 v France (Paris) W 15-3

 

1978 v Australia (Wellington) W 13-12
1978 v Australia (Christchurch) W 22-6
1978 v Australia (Auckland) L 30-16
1978 v England (Twickenham) W 16-6

1978 v Scotland (Murrayfield) W 18-9

 

1979 v France (Christchurch) W 23-9
1979 v France (Auckland) L 24-19

1979 v Australia (Sydney) L 12-6

 

1980 v Australia (Sydney) L 13-9
1980 v Australia (Brisbane) W 12-9
1980 v Australia (Sydney) L 26-10

1980 v Wales (Cardiff) W 23-3

 

1981 v Scotland (Dunedin) W 11-4
1981 v Scotland (Auckland) W 40-15
1981 v South Africa (Christchurch) W 14-9

1981 v South Africa (Auckland) W 25-22

 

1982 v Australia (Christchurch) W 23-16
1982 v Australia (Wellington) L 19-16
1982 v Australia (Auckland) W 33-18

 

 

 

1982 v Australia (Christchurch) W 23-16
1982 v Australia (Wellington) L 19-16
1982 v Australia (Auckland) W 33-18

 

1983 v British Lions (Christchurch) W 16-12

1983 v British Lions (Wellington) W 9-0

1983 v British Lions (Dunedin) W 15-8
1983 v British Lions (Auckland) W 38-6

1983 v Australia (Sydney) W 18-8

 

1984 v France (Christchurch) W 10-9
1984 v France (Auckland) W 31-18
1984 v Australia (Sydney) L 16-9

1984 v Australia (Brisbane) W 19-15

 

1984 v Australia (Sydney) W 25-24
1985 v England (Christchurch) W 18-13
1985 v England (Wellington) W 42-15

1985 v Australia (Auckland) W 10-9

 

1986 v Australia (Dunedin) W 13-12
1986 v Australia (Auckland) L 22-9