Billy Stead (1903-1908)

POSITION: Five-eighth
BORN: Tuesday, 18 September 1877 (Invercargill)
DIED: Monday, 21 July 1958 in Bluff
PHYSICAL: 1.73m, 64kg
ALL BLACK DEBUT: v Wellington Province at Wellington 1903 (aged 25 years, 296 days)
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT: v British & Irish Lions at Wellington 1904 (aged 26 years, 330 days)
LAST TEST: v British & Irish Lions at Auckland 1908 (aged 30 years, 311 days)
ALL BLACK TESTS: 7
ALL BLACK GAMES: 35
TOTAL ALL BLACK MATCHES: 42
ALL BLACK CAPTAINCY: 12 as Captain
ALL BLACK TEST POINTS: 0pts
ALL BLACK GAME POINTS: 36pts (12T)
TOTAL ALL BLACK POINTS: 36pts (12T)
ALL BLACK NUMBER: 105
FIRST RUGBY CLUB: Invercargill Star
PROVINCIAL: Southland

Born John William Stead of both Maori and European descent, he was an outstanding first five-eighth for The All Blacks and part of the 1905 Originals.  As vice captain to Dave Gallaher, Stead’s instincts and strategy were seen as a key reason for the side’s ingenuity and success.  Together with Dave Gallaher, he wrote the famous book, the Complete Rugby Footballer in 1906.  Stead went on to captain the All Blacks and cover at second five-eighth and centre.   He came out of retirement in 1910 to play with the New Zealand Maori side on their tour of Australia.  He went on to be a referee, selector and even coached the All Blacks against the touring Springboks for two tests in 1921.  He became a newspaper columnist for New Zealand Truth and Southland Times.  He passed away in 1958 and is remembered as one of the game’s greats.

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