Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Actor Will Hall and rugby wingman Stu Wilson revisit 80s thrills and spills

Westside actor Will Hall with All Black legend Stu Wilson. Photo / Supplied
Westside actor Will Hall with All Black legend Stu Wilson. Photo / Supplied

All Black great Stu Wilson and actor Will Hall have struck up an unlikely bromance, sparked by one of the most infamous chapters in modern New Zealand history.

The pair became friends after Wilson became hooked on TV smash Westside, in which rugby-mad Hall plays a dodgy cop during the violent riots on the 1981 Springbok tour.

Wilson and Hall met late last year just before filming for the second series started.

Wilson, who played in the controversial tests that divided a nation, passed on tips to Hall about the atmosphere surrounding the protests in Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Eden Park.

"I was at a function in Auckland when I heard someone heckling me about being a bogan and a Westie," Hall said. "I couldn't believe it when it turned out to be Stu because he is one of my all-time rugby heroes.

"His insight into the early 80s was invaluable and his advice on how to tackle a sex scene I had to do on a retro water bed was classic.

"He said the most important thing to remember was to make sure the woman first takes off her stilettos, or the bed could spring a leak. He seemed to know exactly what he was talking about.

"He said it then should be head down, bum up and get the job done because those old water beds could be treacherous."

The All Black winger well remembers the division the tour caused among families, including his own.

"My wife at the time, Robyn, actually protested on the front line at the second test in Wellington," Wilson told the Herald on Sunday. "I said to her 'Good luck' and she went off to the protest while I was inside the ground having a different type of battle with the Springboks."

He also recalled when a flour bomb and flares were dropped on the field and trying to kick a bomb to the side of the pitch. "I also had to have a couple of fish hooks removed from my thigh by the physio because tennis balls that had been cut in half, filled with hooks then stuck back together had also been thrown on to the pitch.

"It was a crazy time but I've been impressed with the way it is portrayed on Westside. It has sure brought memories flooding back."

• Wilson and Hall talk more about the Springbok tour on the Westside Stories podcast series from today:

- Herald on Sunday

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