Peter Henderson 1926-2014

Inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.

Peter Henderson is rated as one of the fastest All Blacks of all time.

Nicknamed ‘Sammy’, Peter was a New Zealand sprint champion with a quickest 100 yards time of 9.7 seconds.

He played 19 rugby matches for the All Blacks on the 1949 tour of South Africa and against the visiting British Isles Lions in 1950. He represented New Zealand 19 times, including seven tests, and was the top try scorer in South Africa with seven tries.

Born in Gisborne, Peter was an All Black triallist and North Island representative in 1948, played for Hawke’s Bay in 1944-45 and 26 times for Whanganui between 1946 and 1950. He scored a hat-trick of tries in a 22-8 away victory over Canterbury in 1948, played in a Ranfurly Shield challenge against Otago on the same South Island tour and against the Lions at Spriggens Park in 1950.

On the athletic track he won the New Zealand 100 yards title in the 1948-49 season in 10 seconds and in 1950 was in the New Zealand 4 x 100 yards men’s relay team that finished third at the Auckland Empire Games, after placing fifth in the individual 100 yards final.

Peter, who lost his job as a dental technician while on the South African tour, was lured to Britain by English professional rugby league club Huddersfield in late 1950 and played 258 times for the club over seven years, scoring 214 tries in his 633 points.

As a right-winger he helped Huddersfield beat St Helens 15-10 in front of 89,588 spectators in the 1952-53 Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

Peter also played for the ‘Other Nationalities’ side that won the 1953 tri-nations test league series against England and France.

Switching to league, however, earned him a 38-year ban by the New Zealand Rugby Union which lasted until 1989.

Peter, who was a Kaierau Club member, joined the New Zealand Barbarians Rugby Club and was also a keen lawn bowler in his latter years in the Bay of Plenty, helping to promote an annual tournament for league and rugby players.

He attended the Wanganui v Wellington Ranfurly Shield match at Cooks Gardens in 2009 and the Wanganui Rugby Football Union’s 125th jubilee in 2012.

Page reviewed: 20 Nov 2017 12:35pm