Full name Waka Joseph Nathan
Born July 8, 1940, Auckland
Current age 76 years 21 days
Major teams New Zealand
|Test debut||Australia v New Zealand at Brisbane, May 26, 1962 match details|
|Last Test||New Zealand v Australia at Wellington, Aug 19, 1967 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Waka Nathan is a former Auckland, New Zealand Maori and All Black flanker, prominent during the 1960s. He was unbeaten in a New Zealand jersey.
Nathan made his debut for Auckland just before turning 19 in 1959 and toured the Pacific with the Maori that year. The following season he was noted for scoring a dramatic last-minute try for his province against Canterbury which fullback Mike Cormack converted to retain the Ranfurly Shield with a 19-18 win.
A key member of the Auckland team during its then record breaking 1959-63 Ranfurly Shield tenure, Nathan appeared for the Maori again in 1960-61. His All Black debut came on the 1962 All Black tour of Australia where he appeared in both Tests, and in all three when the Wallabies returned the visit later that season.
He played in both tests v England in 1963 and was selected for 1963-64 British tour. After showing good form and playing the tests against Ireland and Wales he broke his jaw against Llanelli and was restricted to 15 tour matches. Despite this injury he scored 11 tries - the third highest total on the tour.
A leg injury kept him out of rugby in the 1964 season and continued to plague him the following year, forcing him to withdraw from the team selected to play the first test against the 1965 Springboks He recovered to play for Maori against the tourists and fully fit, he appeared in the whole series against the 1966 Lions, scoring two tries in the third test.
Nathan again toured Britain after the 1967 jubilee test against Australia. However, he suffered another broken jaw and played only six times, missing the Test matches but playing in the prestigious end of tour match against the Barbarians. He retired after two more seasons of club rugby.
In his 14 Internationals for the All Blacks Nathan, sometimes referred to as "the Black Panther", he was described by the legendary Colin Meads as "that most virile runner with the ball in hand, great at exerting pressure close to the forwards."
He went on to become a Maori selector between 1971-77, manager of the Maori team that toured Wales in 1982 and president of the Auckland RFU 2003-04.