|Date of Birth:||25/04/1905|
|Place of Birth:||Wairoa|
One of the most skilful fullbacks ever
to take the rugby field, Nepia was an integral part of the 1925 'Invincibles'
side who toured the northern hemisphere. He played in every single
one of their 32 matches, at the age of only 19.
The young Maori boy from Nuhaka on the East Coast returned from the triumphant Invincibles tour to star throughout Hawkes Bay's golden Ranfurly Shield reign in the 1920's.
He was shamefully denied a place on the All Black's 1928 tour of South Africa due to the fact he was a Maori but returned in style for a final All Black flourish in the four Test series against Great Britain in 1930.
His final game, and only his ninth full Test appearance, was in the All Black's 22-8 victory in the fourth and final Test against the visitors at Wellington's Athletic Park completing a 3-1 series win for New Zealand.
After failing to make the 1935 tour to the UK, he eventually switched to league (where, naturally, he distinguished himself), but was reinstated after the war and played his final first-class rugby game at the age of 42 in 1947.
|Such was the level of his all-round game, it led him to be named as one of the "Five Players of the Year" by the English publication, the Wisden Rugby Almanack.|
|When TVNZ featured him in its 'This is Your Life' show, nearly 1.2 million New Zealanders watched the episode - one of the highest ever ratings. The great man died in August 1986, just a few months after the show was aired, at the age of 81.|