Ask John
Auckland Grammar All Blacks, hat-trick heroes and three quarter-pairings
John Griffiths
October 10, 2011

Welcome to the latest edition of Ask John where renowned rugby historian John Griffiths will answer any rugby-related query you have!

So, if there's something you've always wanted to know about the game we love but didn't know who to ask, or you think you can stump our expert - then get involved by sending us a question.

In this edition, John Griffiths looks at the All Blacks produced by Auckland Grammar School, England's hat-tricks heroes and three quarter-pairings.

Can you list the All Blacks produced by Auckland Grammar School? Anon, New Zealand

Auckland Grammar School has produced more All Blacks than any other school. Here is the list (with All Black playing span) to date:

N H Allen - 1980
B A C Atiga - 2003
C E O Badeley - 1922
V I R Badeley - 1922
W Batty - 1928-31
J W Boe - 1981
N J G Bowden - 1952
J A S Buchan - 1987
G A H Bullock-Dougla - 1932-34
M M N Corner - 1930-35
W D R Currey - 1968
J Dick - 1937-38
M J Dick - 1963-70
J A Drake - 1985-87
J K Fleming - 1978-80
G J Fox - 1984-93
A R H Francis - 1905-10
W M Geddes - 1913
B M Gemmell - 1974
M Herrold - 1893
S P Howarth - 1993-94
D C Howlett - 2000-07
K D Ifwersen - 1921
F M Jervis - 1893
L A G Knight - 1925
L G Knight - 1974-77
T M Lockington - 1936
J V Macky - 1913
R H McKenzie - 1893
H C McLaren - 1952
A L McLean - 1921-23
J G Mills - 1984
K A Nelson - 1962-64
C S Pepper - 1935-36
M J Ridge - 1989
C C Riechelmann - 1997
J C Stanley - 1997
A D Strachan - 1992-95
J M Tanner - 1950-54
G S Thorne - 1967-70
K R Tremain - 1959-68
T M Twigden - 1979-80
A C Waterman - 1929
A J Whetton - 1984-91
G W Whetton - 1981-91
W J Whineray - 1957-65
P J Whiting - 1971-76
F R Wilson - 1910
V W Wilson - 1920
D H Wright - 1925

Some references give an F R Francis as having been an All Black in 1910. No such player has ever appeared for New Zealand. The error probably arose through confusion over F R Wilson and A R H Francis, two of the school's alumni who toured Australia with the 1910 All Blacks.

Further to your answer regarding Dan Carter's Test kicking success ratio, what is Jonny Wilkinson's kicking percentage in Test matches? Graham, England

After the weekend's match between England and France Jonny Wilkinson has now landed 401 of his 518 place-kicks in Tests for England - a 77% success rate.

Mark Cueto and Chris Ashton scored try hat-tricks in the same match when England defeated Romania in the recent RWC pool game in Dunedin. How many times have England players returned multiple try hat-tricks in Tests? David Johnson, England

The feat dates back to the early years of international rugby. It was the sixth time that there had been multiple try hat-tricks for England in a Test. Three of the instances have now occurred in England Tests against Romania.

Year of the match Opponents England players scoring try hat-tricks
1881 Wales George Burton & Harry Vassall
1914 France Ronnie Poulton & Cyril "Kid" Lowe
1989 Romania Jerry Guscott & Chris Oti
1998 The Netherlands Jerry Guscott & Neil Back
2001 Romania Jason Robinson, Ben Cohen & Dan Luger
2011 Romania Chris Ashton & Mark Cueto

Burton, Vassall and Back were forwards. The others were three-quarters, though Robinson's hat-trick against Romania in 2001 was achieved in one of his England starts as a full-back.

Do you have the Barbarians team that played Penarth in 1986? Andrew, Wales

The side was: S Barnes; M H Titley, F J Clough, J A Palmer, A E Jones (known as Arthur Emyr); W G Davies, M H J Douglas; L Delaney, W P Burns, M R Lee, P S May, D R Waters, A Keay, O L Williams, S K McGaughey
Replacement used: G L Robbins

Lansdowne hooker Willie Burns scored three of the Baa-Baas' eight tries in a 39-15 victory that marked the end of their 85-year playing association with the Penarth club.

Which centre three-quarter pairing has started most Tests together? Kevin O'Donnell, Australia

A new world Test record for starts as a centre pairing was actually made during the pool stages of the current Rugby World Cup.

Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy started together as Ireland's centres for the 46th time in their match against Italy, overtaking the previous world record for centre-pairing starts held by Jeremy Guscott and Will Carling.

Guscott and Carling made 44 starts together for England between 1989 and 1996 and they started once as the Lions' Test centre pairing, against New Zealand in Christchurch, in 1993.

Although D'Arcy and O'Driscoll began their Ireland Test careers in 1999, they did not pair up to start together until the Welsh match of 2004. (O'Driscoll's regular partner in the first half of his Test career was Kevin Maggs, with whom he made 35 starts in the Irish centre.)

It should be added that there have been several other Test occasions when they have appeared together as Ireland's centre pairing as a result of D'Arcy joining O'Driscoll as a substitute centre during the course of Tests.

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