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Sunday Aug 15, 2021

The two performances which labelled 21-year-old 'worst All Black of all time'

All Backs full back Colin Farrell has been labelled as possibly the worst player to ever represent New Zealand in Test match rugby.

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Farrell was All Black number 773 and played two Test matches against the British & Irish Lions in 1977. He came out of nowhere having not featured in any of the previous trials matches for New Zealand but selectors Jack Gleeson, Eric Watson and John Stewart took on board the recommendation of winger Bryan Williams, who reportedly didn’t want to play full back himself.

Unfortunately, the 21-year-old with long blonde hair was a liability under the high ball during his two games of international rugby and he fumbled several simple catches along the floor.

Farrell’s kicking displays were also decidedly average with several clearance kicks coming straight off the side of his boot in front of thousands of spectators and the following video harshly labels him the ‘worst All Black of all time’.

Things have moved on in the professional era and you certainly wouldn’t have selectors picking players they’ve never seen play, especially for a British & Irish Lions Test, so perhaps history should look more sympathetically at Farrell as he clearly wasn’t ready for the top level at that age.

Farrell, now 65, played 77 times for Auckland throughout his career which spanned a seven-year period in total.

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The Lions played 26 matches on the 1977 tour of New Zealand including four Tests against the All Blacks and it was the hosts who won the series 3-1. 

Overall the tourists won 21 games and some of the most legendary Lions players featured on that tour including the great Ian McGeechan and fly half Phil Bennett.

Modern-day tours have just a fraction of the number of games and have one fewer Test match, and the most recent visit to New Zealand in 2017 saw a dramatic series draw.

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