A rare All Blacks jersey belonging to legendary fullback
and barefoot goalkicker Bob Scott has surfaced at auction in Britain.
The match-worn artefact comes from the family of legendary Irish international fly-half Jack Kyle who swapped jerseys with Scott after a hard fought match in the 1950s.
In immaculate condition, the black-and-white jersey with large silver fern over the left breast was treasured by Kyle who died in 2014.
Scott, who played 52 matches for the All Blacks including 17 Tests from 1946 to 1954, died in 2012 aged 91.
Scott's jersey goes under the hammer at an auction in Wales on December 5.
It has an estimated value of £12,000 – £18,000 (NZ$23,300 – NZ$35,000).
Scott played against Kyle during the tests on the British Lions tour of New Zealand in 1950 and at Dublin for Ireland vs New Zealand in 1954 when Kyle captained Ireland.
The jersey was swapped after one of those matches.
Auctioneer Ben Rogers Jones of Rogers Jones Co said he hoped the jersey was able to return to New Zealand.
"The market for jerseys of such pedigree is exceptionally buoyant and as Bob Scott is one of the most important post-war All Blacks, we are expecting good interest from collectors all around the world," he said.
The Cardiff-based auction house sold Dave Gallaher's famous jersey, worn during 'the Originals' tour of the British Isles in 1905, for a record-shattering £180,000 (NZ$411,826) in 2015.
And although they are not expecting Scott's one to fetch a similar price, Rogers Jones says they are "still anticipating strong international bidding at serious levels".
In Scott's account of the 1950 Lions tour in his biography, it is clear how strongly Scott considered Kyle to be the star of the touring side.
"The jersey was treasured by Jack Kyle, given the great respect and admiration both men had for each other. It has not been displayed so has not faded or suffered from pinholes or long-term folds," the auction listing says.
Scott was a popular rugby figure and brilliant fullback who used to enrapture crowds with halftime barefoot goalkicking exhibitions.
He frequently knocked over goals from halfway, with his best kick coming from 65 yards (59.4m) in Hawera.
"I had a pretty good sense of timing," Scott once said.
Scott initially played league for Ponsonby but switched to union when he joined the army in 1942.
He served in Italy during World War II and afterwards toured Britain, France, Germany and New Zealand with the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces team before being picked for the All Blacks for their first post-war test series against Australia in 1946.
Scott answered an SOS call to come out of retirement for the 1953-54 tour of Europe, when the triumphant All Blacks were described as "a great pack - and Scott".
"For me there will never by anyone as great as Scott," former commentator Winston McCarthy wrote.
South African No 8 Hennie Muller said: "Altogether, the greatest footballer I've ever played against in any position."