Graeme Bachop - New Zealand - 1989-1995

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 01 October 1991

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      Scrum Half
      Sunday, 11 June 1967
      Christchurch, New Zealand.
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Graeme BACHOP - New Zealand - 1989-1995

Blessed with wonderful running and passing skills, scrum-half Graeme Bachop won 31 caps for his country in a six year career. His test debut came on the autumn tour of Ireland and Wales in 1989 and he scored a try on his debut at Cardiff Arms Park. In 1991 Graeme was selected to play in the World Cup during which New Zealand began promisingly and advanced to the semi-finals, only to be ousted by Australia, a team they had been using as cleaning implements for much of the previous four years.


In that game Graeme was one of several players to be made a fool of by David Campese before the winger released Tim Horan for a try with a cunning flicked over the head pass. Following the World Cup, no established All Black was ever able to take their place for granted again and Graeme was left out in the cold between 1992 and 1994, the half back slot being juggled between Jon Preston and Stu Forster.


However, in 1994 he returned for four tests against South Africa and Australia, all of which were played in tandem with his brother Stephen at first five eighth. In 1995 it became clear that Graeme was the number one again in his position and he starred in five of New Zealand's World Cup games, including the semi-final against England in which he scored a try. He was rated the best scrum-half of the tournament, but would play only more test, his swansong coming against the Wallabies later in the year. Graeme then decamped to Japan but was still highly rated enough for new All Black coach John Hart to make an unsuccessful attempt to lure him back in 1996. The Bachop brothers were originally natives of the Cook Islands, a country which also produced the Australian Rugby League ace Mal Maninga. (Jon Collins)