On-pitch adversaries are reunited

IT might have been 30 years since they last faced each other on a rugby field, but the memories came flooding back when Scotland internationalist John Rutherford was reunited with former All Black Andrew Jefferd last week.

The pair first came face-to-face when New Zealand took on the touring Scotland team in two test matches in Dunedin and Auckland in 1981.

The Kiwis won both internationals, the first 11-4 and the second 40-15.

“I remember Scotland came close to getting the better of us at Carisbrook,” recalled Jefferd, “with hooker Colin Deans scoring a very good try. The second test was a bit more decisive, when we ran away with the match in the closing quarter.”

The two ex-internationalists played in both games and were able to renew acquaintances when Jefferd (a farmer from Gisborne) and his wife Sally paid a visit to the Borders last week to meet relatives at Lindean.

“Andy was a big strong centre,” commented Rutherford, “and I remember the two tests we played in very clearly. Lining up against the All Blacks is always a bit special, and the 1981 tour was very hard, but also very enjoyable.

“Getting a phone call from Andrew saying he was in the Selkirk area came as a complete surprise and it was great to meet him again. We had a long chat about the ’81 tour and I’ve promised I’ll go and see him up in Gisborne if I’m ever back in New Zealand.”