Rugby jersey, All Blacks

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Invincibles rugby jersey with white collar. Silver fern on the front breast, white fern embroidered onto a black background which is sewn onto the jersey. Number four on the reverse. Black printed onto square of white cotton which is sewn onto the jersey. Jersey is quilted across the top section and the front is done up with a black lace.
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This jersey belonged to Handley Welborn Brown. Brown made the New Plymouth Boys’ High first XV in his first year and captained them from 1921-23. In his last year he was also picked to play for Taranaki and aged 19 made the All Blacks squad chosen to tour the United Kingdom, France and Canada in the Invincibles 1924-25 tour.
Rugby was booming in New Zealand in the 1920s and the New Zealand Rugby Football Union about doubled player registration from 1920 to 1924. The success of the Invincibles tour cemented New Zealand’s reputation as a rugby powerhouse when they played 32 games without losing a match.
At 175 centimetres tall and 73 kilograms, Handley wasn’t a big player by today’s standards, but he was quick. He played 20 games for the All Blacks and scored eight tries. Although he played no international tests, rumour has it he missed one match because he had snuck off to Paris!
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