World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

George William Smith (sportsman)

Article Id: WHEBN0006383824
Reproduction Date:

Title: George William Smith (sportsman)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject:
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

George William Smith (sportsman)

George Smith
Personal information
Full name George William Smith
Nickname The Greyhound
Born (1874-09-20)20 September 1874
Auckland, New Zealand
Died 7 December 1954(1954-12-07) (aged 80)
Oldham, England
Playing information
Height 170 cm (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 76 kg (12 st 0 lb)
Rugby union
Position Wing, Centre
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1896–06 Auckland 11
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1897–05 New Zealand 2 2 0 0 6
Rugby league
Position Wing, Centre, Second-row
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1908–16 Oldham 173 100 5 0 310
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1907–08 New Zealand 4 1 0 0 3

George William Smith (20 September 1874 – 7 December 1954) was a New Zealand sportsman who excelled at track and field as well as both codes of rugby football.

Contents

  • Early years 1
  • Athletics 2
  • Rugby union 3
  • Rugby league 4
  • After retirement 5
  • Legacy 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early years

Smith was born in Auckland and educated at Wellesley Street School. He became a successful jockey and won the 1894 New Zealand Cup, riding Impulse. He had to abandon his racing career after gaining weight.

Athletics

As a track athlete, Smith was an outstanding sprinter and hurdler, winning 15 national championships between 1898 and 1904 (100 yards sprint and 440 yards hurdles five times each and the 120 yards hurdles four times plus the 250 yards once), as well as multiple Australasian championships and the 1902 British AAA quarter-mile hurdles, in which event he had an unofficial world record of 58.5s. While in Britain in 1902 Manningham F.C. tried to sign Smith to play rugby league. Smith turned down the £100 contract.[1]

Rugby union

Smith began his rugby career in 1895 playing rugby union for the City Rugby Club in Auckland. He first represented his home province Auckland in 1896 and, in the following year made, his debut for the New Zealand national team against New South Wales. However, in the following years, Smith played little rugby, instead preferring to concentrate on track. He made a come back in 1901, gaining All Black selection, before disappearing again until he was enticed back to the game with the prospect of joining the 'Originals' tour to the British Isles and France in 1905.

During the Originals tour, Smith was one of the outstanding players, especially in the early part of the tour, playing in 19 games, including the internationals against Scotland and Ireland, and scoring 19 tries. It was during this time in Britain that he first saw Northern Union being played.

Altogether, Smith made 39 appearances for New Zealand in rugby union, 21 as a wing and 18 at Centre (rugby union), and scored 34 tries.

Smith played for the City club and represented Auckland in 1906. City conducted a four-game tour of Sydney after the season had ended.[2]

Rugby league

While in Sydney with the City club Smith met an Australian entrepreneur, James Giltinan, and discussed the potential of professional rugby in Australasia.[2] Smith is reported to have told Giltinan "What about you gettings Rugby League going in Australia, and I'll do my best when I cross the Tasman home."[3] He then met Albert Baskiville in Wellington and played a leading part in the formation of the professional 1907-1908 New Zealand rugby tour of Great Britain, helping to select the touring party. At the time Smith was probably the best known athlete in New Zealand and his involvement in the tour lent it credibility and increased its ability to attract players. Smith was elected vice-captain and the tour was a success, both financially and on the field, with the team winning its three match series against Great Britain. Smith later described the tour as the happiest one he had ever been associated with.[3]

After touring with the professional All Blacks he stayed on in Britain to play professionally with the Centre, i.e. number 3, in Oldham's 9-10 defeat by Wigan in the 1908 Lancashire Cup final during the 1908–09 season at Wheater's Field, Broughton, Salford on Saturday 19 December 1908.[4] Smith played Left-Wing, i.e. number 5, in Oldham's 3-7 defeat to Wigan in the Championship final during the 1908–09 season at The Willows, Salford on Saturday 1 May 1909.[5] By 1912 Smith had moved into the forwards and played at second row.[1] Smith played for the club until 1916 when a broken leg ended his career.

After retirement

Smith then joined a textile firm but in 1932 returned to rugby league, being involved in the Oldham coaching staff for three years. He often met touring New Zealand League and All Blacks sides. He lived in Oldham until his death on 7 December 1954.

Legacy

For his role in the birth of international rugby league, the 'George Smith Medal' was minted in 2002 to be awarded to the player of Test series between Great Britain and New Zealand. That year Smith's 92-year-old daughter Edna Stansfield, who was living in Oldham, viewed the medal inspired by her father when she was visited by a director of the New Zealand Rugby League.[6] His son, George Smith, played both rugby codes and died in a Japanese prisoner camp in 1943.

References

  1. ^ a b Coffey and Wood The Kiwis: 100 Years of International Rugby League ISBN 1-86971-090-8
  2. ^ a b Coffey, John and Bernie Wood Auckland, 100 years of rugby league, 1909–2009, 2009. ISBN 978-1-86969-366-4, p.3.
  3. ^ a b c John Haynes From All Blacks to All Golds: Rugby League's Pioneers, Christchurch, Ryan and Haynes, 1996. ISBN 0-473-03864-1
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  • McMillan, N. A. C. 'Smith, George William 1874 – 1954'. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 7 April 2006

External links

  • Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
  • George Smith at AllBlacks.com
  • S Player Statistics Oldham Heritage Trust, Accessed 13 August 2009
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.