Wayne (Buck) Shelford has an impressive rugby career as one of the world's most prominent loose forwards. The 1989 Rugby Almanac says this about him. "The All Black captain W T Shelford, with his excellent ball skills, powerful running and sense of anticipation, must rank as the best player ever seen in this position during the last decade".
Wayne began his representative rugby career in 1978 for the New Zealand Colts and the New Zealand Combined Services. He played for the Auckland Rugby Union for 3 years until he joined the North Harbour Rugby Union in 1985. Within three years Wayne led North Harbour to first division status for the 1988 season.
In 1987, the first Rugby World Cup was held in New Zealand. Wayne played in five of the six All Blacks games and was a member of the team that won the final against France 29–9. Wayne made his test debut in 1986 against France with a typically barging try. He played in 32 matches (13 tests) for the All Blacks and held captaincy from 1987 until 1990 when he was dropped in controversial circumstances. He played for the New Zealand Maori All Blacks and captained the 1988 tour. He had a 14-game unbeaten run as captain of the All Blacks before being dropped in 1990, leading to the public campaign to 'Bring back Buck'. Although he never regained his place in the All Black side, Wayne was the captain of the New Zealand XV that played Romania in the Soviet Union and New Zealand B team that played Australia. He had played 48 All Blacks games including 22 tests and had captained the side 31 times, including 14 tests. He also scored 22 tries in total in his All Blacks career.
Wayne retired from playing all rugby in 1991 and coached for some time in Britain. He returned to New Zealand and was the assistant coach of the North Harbour team in 1997 and coach in 1998.
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