Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Wayne 'Buck' Shelford was one of the greatest No.8's and hardest men to ever play rugby. A truly great All Black and formidible presence during one of the stellar periods of All Black rugby.
If ever there was one moment when New Zealands Shelford embedded his name forever into rugby's rich history, it was during the infamous Battle of Nantes in 1986.
Playing only his second Test for the All Blacks against a physically intimidating French side, Shelford found himself at the bottom of a rather aggressive ruck on 20 minutes.
An errant Les Bleus stud found its way to his groin, where it somehow managed to tear his scrotum, leaving one testicle hanging out.
This alone would leave most men screaming in agony and heading for the nearest hospital. But not Shelford. He calmly instructed the physio to stitch him up.
The French public were gobsmacked as an over-eager pitchside cameraman filmed the stomach-turning surgery, and even more so when Shelford returned to the field and carried on playing...
"I was knocked out cold, lost a few teeth and had a few stitches down below," Shelford later recalled. "It's a game I still can't remember... I don't really want to, either."
Sadly the recent news has come through that the now 49 year old legend has been diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer which affects white blood cells.
"We found out a month ago and he has five more months of treatment," his wife Jo told the Sunday Star Times newspaper in New Zealand.
"We are very positive and pleased with how the treatment is going but it has been a traumatic time for the family."
We wish him and his family all the best. Enjoy this great tribute to a true All Black legend.