How productive is your birth year in sport?

sheek Roar Guru

By sheek, sheek is a Roar Guru

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    While reading up on one of my favourite Boks from the 80s Rob Louw, an article on the net caught my eye.

    The article began by saying that becoming a Springbok was a dream of most (then white) young South Africans, but only eight born in 1955 achieved that dream.

    The eight were, backrower Rob Louw (19 Tests), utility forward Theuns Stofberg (21), centre Willie du Plessis (14), prop Ockie Osthuizen (9), lock Schalk Burger snr (6), prop Hennie van Aswagen (2), winger Darius Botha (1) and scrumhalf Gawie Visagie (tour matches only).

    Interestingly, all bar Burger Sr toured New Zealand during that turbulent demonstration tour of 1981, with Visagie being called over as an injury replacement.

    Wilie du Plessis was the eldest of three outstanding back three-quarters, all of whom played for the Boks. Middle brother Michael was also a centre, while youngest brother Carel was dubbed ‘the prince of wingers’.

    Darius Botha was the elder brother of the more famous andamp; legendary Naas Botha. Of course, Schalk Burger snr is the father of Schalk Burger jnr.

    I then turned to my own birth year (1956) and my own country Australia, to see how many guys born in my year made the Wallabies.

    The figure was again eight, which began to make me think that’s a pretty good number for a birth year in any particular sport.

    The eight were, utility forward Duncan Hall (15 Tests), hooker Billy Ross (13), utility back Ken Wright (9), winger Mick Martin (6), eightman Peter Lucas (3), hooker Bruce Malouf (1), backrower Tom Barker (tour matches only) and eightman Don Price (tour matches only).

    Interestingly Hall, the son of Kangaroos hardman prop Duncan snr, not only shared the same birth year as myself but exactly the same birth date. Also, we were both locks who much preferred to play eightman.

    But there the comparison ends, because Hall was an infinitely better rugby player than myself.

    Ross, Wright and Barker were also schoolboy team mates to the UK in 1973-74. Don Price was the younger brother of fiery dual international from the Wallabies and Kangaroos, Ray Price.

    I then turned my attention to rugby league, but could only find six players born in my year who became Kangaroos.

    They were, prop Craig Young (20 Tests), second rower/prop Les Boyd (17), fullback Greg Brentnall (13), halfback Steve Mortimer (8), winger/fullback Ian Schubert (4) and prop Royce Ayliffe (1).

    Next stop was the baggy greens Test cricket team. Here I found five guys born in my year who made it to the top.

    They were opener Graeme Wood (59 Tests), fast bowler Terry Alderman (41), opener Andrew Hilditch (18), off-spinner Peter Taylor (13) and slow left-armer Tom Hogan (7).

    Finally, what about the Socceroos? I found just three – striker John Kosmina (60 Tests), winger/midfielder Peter Sharne (14) and goalkeeper Martyn Crook (13).

    Of course, in time, I might look up Olympic sports and see how my birth year did there.

    What about yourself, fellow Roarers? How successful is your birth year in your favourite sport or sports?

    A former rugby lock, cricket no.11 bat and no.10 bowler, and surfboat rower. A fan of the major team sports in Australia.

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    The Crowd Says (43)

    • May 27th 2015 @ 2:59am
      Johnno said | May 27th 2015 @ 2:59am | ! Report

      sheek heres a few 1979

      RL: Lote Tiquri(dual-international),Nathan Hindmarsh
      RU: Phil Waugh
      Cricket: Marcus North
      Soccer: Tim Cahill

      • Roar Guru

        May 27th 2015 @ 8:09am
        Diggercane said | May 27th 2015 @ 8:09am | ! Report

        Thanks Sheek, fun topic.

        I am 79 also and the most notable would be Mealamu and Vettori for me after a quick look. Also notice Odriscoll was the same year.

        • Roar Guru

          May 27th 2015 @ 9:10am
          Diggercane said | May 27th 2015 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          Hey, Wilkinson and Oconnell too, and Grant Elliott. Was a good year 😉

          • May 27th 2015 @ 5:07pm
            Johnno said | May 27th 2015 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

            Bakkies Botha and Andrew Sheridan both 79’ers

    • May 27th 2015 @ 3:32am
      Billy Bob said | May 27th 2015 @ 3:32am | ! Report

      Wow, are you mow a numerologist, Sheek?

    • Roar Guru

      May 27th 2015 @ 3:58am
      Harry Jones said | May 27th 2015 @ 3:58am | ! Report

      Interesting topic, Sheek.

      Henry Honiball and Tiaan Strauss were Boks born in 1965.

      I’m sure there were a few others; but that was a tough time to get caps, as isolation in the mid- to late 80s grew.

      But those two were among the best in any era.

      • Roar Guru

        May 27th 2015 @ 9:50am
        sheek said | May 27th 2015 @ 9:50am | ! Report


        Andrew Hudson & Craig Matthews are two Proteas cricketers who come immediately to mind, born in 1965.

      • Roar Guru

        May 27th 2015 @ 9:49pm
        Charging Rhino said | May 27th 2015 @ 9:49pm | ! Report

        Yea it’s amazing how Honiball really peaked in his 30’s and shone for that record setting Bok team of 97-98.

        Most backs peak peak in their twenties, while forwards seem to only hit their straps at 26+

        Not Honiball, he was the master at 34!! 🙂

        Maybe I should go to trials for the Reds next season 😉 Lol

    • May 27th 2015 @ 5:40am
      ben said | May 27th 2015 @ 5:40am | ! Report

      Is this a sneaky way of finding how old we all are?

    • May 27th 2015 @ 7:34am
      Daniel Bryson said | May 27th 2015 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      I don’t think any sportstars were born in 1997!

    • May 27th 2015 @ 7:44am
      zer0 said | May 27th 2015 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      In rugby the only 1990 born NZ player of note is Julian Savea. Outside of NZ my cohort appears to be marked by squandered talent, such as James O’Connor and Patrick Lambie. Cricket is a bit better with both Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson.

      In conclusion, a relatively small NZ sample, but two potential/likely greats in Savea and Williamson.

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