Only seven men have played both rugby union and cricket for New Zealand. The last two – Brian McKechnie and Jeff Wilson – are both from my home province of Southland and likely to be the last dual internationals dubbed “Double All Blacks”. It is a rare achievement from a forgotten era unlikely to be repeated because rugby has morphed into a year round code.
Jeff, nicknamed Goldie, played four ODIs as a 19 year old all rounder against Australia before turning his attention to rugby where he became an All Black legend with 44 tries in 60 appearances on the wing. After retiring from footy he returned to cricket after a 12 year gap and played two more ODIs and a one off Twenty20 in 2005.
Brian, known as Colt, was an unwilling participant in controversies in both sports. In 1981 he was the batsman on the receiving end of Trevor Chappells’ infamous underarm delivery at the end of the third final in the World Series against Australia at the MCG. Oz captain Greg Chappell ordered his brother to bowl the controversial final ball to prevent a six being hit to tie the match. It was an incident he later described as the biggest regret of his career.
Three years earlier McKechnie kicked a late penalty that gave the All Blacks a 13-12 win over Wales at Cardiff, securing the ‘Grand Slam’. Andy Haden’s ‘dive’ from a line out near full time was thought to be the reason for the penalty, but years later the referee said it was a completely separate incident – which video footage clearly verifies.
An economical right-arm pace bowler and useful lower-order batsman, McKechnie played 14 ODIs for the Black Caps. The underarm incident was his final match. He played 26 matches for the All Blacks at first five-eigth (fly half) and full back, between 1977-1981.
I drew these two caricatures of Colt and Goldie sometime in the 1990s. Twenty five prints were signed by both as part of a fundraiser for charity.