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23 May 2014
The McClure family of Wellington New Zealand have been friends of my family for 25 years. Wife Cindy and Husband Lance have two kids and they live in the suburb of Lower Hutt.
Lance has served in the New Zealand police force for all of his working life, rising to be a Senior constable. Several times he has been posted to the Solomon Islands to assist in the rebuild of that country after violent storm damage.
This year Lance sent me this touching and very sad story of rugby connection and also about the loss of one life in the recent floods.
From the Solomon Star Times: Electronic Edition 12 April 2014.
SATURDAY, 12 APRIL 2014 12:38
WHEN the Solomon Islands sent a rugby team to the Hong Kong 7s for the first time in 1983, one of the key players was Leonard Pugeva. But now 30 years later Leonard's family and the rugby community are mourning.
Leonard died in the raging torrents of the flashflood of the Matanikau river on Thursday last week and his body, and those of three of his grandchildren who drowned in the flooded river, will be taken to his home village of Tokengau in Bellona for burial today.
He took up rugby in 1971 and was 27 when he first represented Solomon Islands at Hong Kong according to historical records.
He had previously represented the country at the 1979 South Pacific Games and in 1980 at the Air Pacific Trophy competition.
Now at the age of 58 years, he is gone from among us.
This information paper comes from a member of the rugby community who was shocked to hear of his passing in such tragic circumstances.
Two of his children and a daughter-in-law and her brother survived the flood waters and were plucked from Point Cruz harbor by rescuers on boats.
Leonard's tragic story was played out in other families in Honiara last week and there are many others who lost mainly mothers and children.
He and his family had almost completed their family home on the bank of the Matanikau river near Vara creek where they operated a small canteen while he bought timber to complete the structure.
With his eldest son he was attending to the timber when the flashflood hit the canteen and then washed everyone downstream.
The house was then hit by debris and it collapsed into the river and floated downstream with two hundred pieces of 4 by 1 inch timber.
Leonard will long be remembered in the rugby community.
He went to Hong Kong twice and played for several years before retiring.
His second son Masunu became a national representative in both wrestling and rugby 7s.
His legacy to sport and to his family will live on.
He is survived by his wife Teisi, several children and several remaining grandchildren.
Teiti's people in Honiara and Wagina are also in mourning.
Fa’ako Liolea, another former rugby star, married Leonard's sister and was with the family most of the past week, and their rugby playing partner Joe Uilelea and his wife (Teiti's sister) sent condolences from Samoa where Joe is a Congregational Minister.
Others in their champion team of 1983 were John Bainivalu, Jared Beti, Tela Delaiverata, Warren Bao, Josaia Titia, Job Tuhaika and Bobby Ramo.
Most of them played at Hong Kong again in 1984.
The Australian team they faced included such names as David Campese and the Ella brothers
5 September 2010
The Black Ferns score their fourth success at the Women's Rugby World Cup!
New captain Melissa Ruscoe led the team for their 13-10 win over England in the final. This one sweeter - it was on English soil, in London.
Rosslyn Park and England
4 internationals for England 1936
One of rugby history’s most colourful characters, Prince Alexander Obolensky was the son of Prince Alexis of Russia. The young prince was born in Leningrad in 1916 but was taken to England the following year, presumably to avoid the Russian revolution.
He was educated at Trent College and Brasenose College, Oxford. ‘Obo’, as he was known, was an elegant and speedy wing and his rugby prowess was quickly recognised. Late in 1935 he played for Oxford in the annual Universities match, the first of three appearances in that famous game.
As a 19-year-old, early in 1936, he played for England against New Zealand at Twickenham. England caused an upset by thrashing the All Blacks by 13–0. Obolensky scored two tries, one of which has become a classic. His diagonal run through the New Zealand defence, as he scored for the second time, can still be admired on newsreel film footage and on YouTube. That game thereafter became known by rugby writers as ‘Obolensky’s match’.
After he left Oxford University his form fluctuated and fell away. He won only four caps, all in the 1935–36 season, but his memory is ensured both because of his colourful family background and his extraordinary, if briefly flowering, rugby talent.
A world record in first-class rugby is still entered in some books under Obolensky’s name. ‘Obo’ toured South America with a 'Rugby Football Union' team in 1936 (presumably an English selection), and in a game against Brazil he crossed for 17 tries, still a record for one game, though perhaps the first-class quality of the local XV might be called into question.
When World War II broke out, Obolensky joined the Royal Air Force. He died when the Hawker Hurricane he was piloting crashed on landing in East Anglia. He was the first of 111 rugby internationals from all countries to lose their lives in the conflict.
Which club supplied seven players of the 1971 British and Irish Lions touring team to New Zealand - five of whom played all four tests?