Former Māori AB launches autobiography on eve of Māori vs Lions test

By Taroi Black

Former Māori All Black Bob Thompson, launched his autobiography ‘A Bob Each Way’ at a lunch in Rotorua today. A story which reflects on his successful rugby career, playing for the Māori All Blacks in the late 60’s and becoming the only player to cross the ditch to also represent the Wallabies in three international test matches.

200 people were invited to the Kahukura Rugby Club in Rotorua, where he is a life member and a lunch was held in his honour, attended by his former Wallabies teammate, Reggie Smith; All Blacks flanker Alan McNaughton and NZ Sevens coach, Sir Gordon Tietjens; and three former Māori All Blacks, Hika Reid, Ron Preston and Wayne Ranui, also take part in the event.  

Thomspon says, “Awesome day, especially reflecting back on my rugby days with the Māori All Blacks and basically been a player. That time of life was the ultimate as well as playing for Australia.

“This is also a special time as tomorrow our city celebrates the Māori All Blacks match against the British Lions. To me, Rotorua is the home of New Zealand rugby, so it’s awesome.”

He explains in the book how friendships forged on and off the field and how he scored 18 points for Australia in one match against the Springboks in Perth. Through his many tours around the world one event he recalls was a huge defining moment off the field, as he had lunch with the “great train robber” Ronnie Biggs over in Rio.

Mr Thompson continues to love the game and believes the Māori All Blacks will defeat the British Lions and believes Chiefs player, Damien Mackenzie is the difference.

“I think they made the right choice by putting him in first-five and I think he’ll be recognized for his skills tomorrow.”