Rugby players of the past showing off their skills

The Players


Arthur Hughes (1905 - 1986)

All Blacks player between 1947 - 1950

Arthur Maitland Hughes OBE JP (11 October 1924 – 20 June 2005) was a New Zealand rugby union player. A hooker, Hughes represented Auckland at a provincial level, and was a member of the New Zealand national side, the All Blacks from 1947 to 1950. Unusually, he was selected for the All Blacks before making his provincial debut. He played seven matches for the All Blacks including six internationals.[2]

Hughes retired from rugby in 1950 to concentrate on business interests and rose to become managing director of the family liquor firm, Hughes and Cossar. He also served as president of the Auckland Racing Club and the New Zealand Racing Conference.[1]

In the 1985 Queen's Birthday Honours, Hughes was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for services to racing administration.[3]

Two years after his death in 2005, Hughes was inducted into the Waitakere Business Hall of Fame.[4]

Arthur Hughes  #484

Born in Auckland Arthur Hughes was educated at Nelson College where he was in the 1st XV in 1942. After service in the Navy during World War II he joined the Grammar club in Auckland and had the unusual distinction of playing for New Zealand before representing Auckland.

The 1947 All Blacks, on returning from their tour of Australia, had a match scheduled against Auckland. With both hookers, Has Catley and Jim McCormick, injured Hughes was called in. After a good performance in that match he came into the Auckland team later in the year, making his debut in "the" big game of the domestic season, Auckland's Ranfurly Shield challenge against Otago. He was described by the Rugby Almanack as "a well built, hard working forward who performed extremely well in his first season in First Class Rugby".

The Hughes career progressed considerably in 1948. He was again the first string Auckland hooker, progressed to the final trial for the All Black team to tour South Africa in 1949 and appeared for the North Island as a replacement. The Rugby Almanack editors thought he "revealed continued improvement and is now up to All Black standard".

Arthur Hughes made 10 appearances for Auckland, appeared for the North Island and, with an All Black side away in South Africa, played in both tests against the visiting Australians, with his performance in the second test drawing favourable comment. He retained his All Black spot for the four tests against the 1950 Lions and performed well. Just 26 years of age he then retired from play because of the requirements of the family business, Hughes and Cossar Ltd, wine and spirit merchants, of which he became managing director.

A committee member of the Auckland Racing Club for 10 years Arthur Hughes also served as president of the N Z Racing Conference 1974-84.

Standing 5'10" (1.78m) and weighing 13st. 9lb (87kg) Hughes built a fine record in a short first class career. Had he continued in big rugby he might have ranked among the best All Black hookers.


Player stats

Arthur Hughes profile image

position HOOKER (2)

height 5FT 10”

weight 13st 7lbs


appearances 7

Hughes built a fine record in a short first class career. Had he continued in big rugby he might have ranked among the best All Black hookers Profile by Bob Luxford

He was subsequently selected as full back for New Zealand in 1924 and included within the All Blacks tour of the United Kingdom. He was the only player in the squad to feature in all 32 games, and in doing so, amassing an impressive 77 points. This touring side failed to lose a game earning them the nickname of “The Invincibles”.

After this campaign Nepia’s reputation grew being described as “a fine full back with a safe pair of hands, strong kicking game and a fierce tackle”.

An image of Arthur Hughes
An image of Arthur Hughes

Nepia was not named in the 1928 squad to tour South Africa but he returned in 1929 for a tour of Australia and competed in 1930 as New Zealand hosted the British Lions tour. In 1935, he would switch allegiance to rugby league, a move that permanently outcasted players from union. However, in 1947, an amnesty of the exclusivity ruling meant there was an opportunity for one final game of union for George Nepia. He would become the oldest player in 1950 (aged 45 years old) to feature in a ‘first-class’ match playing against his eldest son of the same name.

Fans and historians agree that he was his country’s “first rugby superstar” and it seems fitting he was inducted into New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.

The Hughes

A vintage reproduction of the classic 1950 international New Zealand rugby shirt

Made from 100% cotton, this Arthur Hughes jersey is a study of the original worn by the iconic New Zealand hooker.

Its highly woven cloth delivers supreme quality with a contrast twill collar and featuring nape embroidery commemorating the player’s signature characteristics.

The particulars of the original were carefully studied and reproduced culminating in a ‘bootlace’ collar and quilted shoulder panel. We’ve incorporated the iconic silver fern on the chest with unparalleled detail, delivering an authentic vintage jersey that is tailored for a contemporary audience.

100% British made in our manufacturing facility here in the Midlands, with yarn spun in the same building.

Limited Edition range with only 250 jerseys available!