It’s been claimed that Wayne Shelford, or Buck as he’s commonly known, is one of the toughest men ever to set foot on a field. The first of which was in his home town of Rotorua where as a teenager he played for a local rugby league team. He began his representative rugby career in 1978 where he played for the New Zealand Colts and the New Zealand Combined Services.
He then went on to play for the Auckland Rugby Union in 1982 where he made 28 appearances. In 1985 Wayne was voted Player of the Year and it was also in this year that he joined the North Harbour Rugby Union (a break-away Union) and within three years Wayne led North Harbour to first division status for the 1988 season.
Wayne made his test debut in 1986 against France and would go on to appear in 32 matches (13 tests) for the All Blacks and held captaincy from 1987 until 1990 when he was dropped in controversial circumstances. The general public were unhappy with this decision, especially when the All Blacks lost the third test of their next series against Australia, ending a 17-test winning streak (and 49 game streak including non-tests) without Buck leading the team. Ardent fans started appearing at games with signs saying “Bring Back Buck”, which continues even to this day at sporting events throughout the world.
As well as representing the All Blacks, Wayne also represented the New Zealand Maori All Blacks (first in 1985) and then captained the 1988 tour.
In the 1991 New Year Honours, he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to rugby.
In 2007 he was faced with an opponent tougher than him – cancer. Now in remission he often speaks about his fight for his life and in 2012 released ‘Buck Up : The Real Bloke’s Guide to Getting Healthy and Living Longer”. His charismatic demeanour and inspirational story sees him regularly speaking to businesses about the need for men to take better care of themselves.