Wanganui RFU – 1901

Results - 1901

Sat 14 Sep 2:30 pm H Representative Taranaki Whanganui RFU 09 - 08
Tue 03 Sep 2:30 pm H Representative New South Wales Whanganui RFU 08 - 09
Sat 31 Aug 2:30 pm H Representative Hawkes Bay Whanganui RFU 10 - 03
Sat 17 Aug 2:30 pm H Representative Wairarapa Whanganui RFU 03 - 14

Bronco Seeling  #115

Charlie Seeling was the outstanding forward of the 1905-06 Originals, a back row or breakaway forward in the old 2-3-2 scrum and a forerunner of the later flankers of the Kel Tremain or Ian Kirkpatrick ilk.

Until the arrival of Maurice Brownlie in the 1920s critics were unanimous that New Zealand rugby had never produced a better or more complete forward and while it is impossible to compare generations he rates high among the game’s legends.

Nicknamed “Bronco,” Seeling was a big man for his era at around 1.83m and 87kg. By modern standards, of course, that is not especially imposing and openside flank specialists like Michael Jones or Richie McCaw would both have been a good deal bigger than Seeling. But a century or so ago the average height was three or four inches shorter than today and the average weight a couple of stones lighter. In the context in which he played Seeling was a giant and, indeed, of the Originals pack only three or four players were heavier or taller.

And to his robust physique Seeling added considerable pace, natural athleticism and, as a tackler, absolute fearlessness.

Originally from Wanganui, Seeling played for that union in five matches in 1903 before being enticed north to Auckland, a reminder that what some might like to call “poaching” of the best talent from the smaller areas has been long a constant feature of New Zealand rugby.

Seeling arrived in Auckland in time to play the first Ranfurly Shield defence in history, in 1904 against Wellington. Though the shield was lost that year, Seeling between 1905 and 1909, when the Shield had been regained, appeared for Auckland in several of their notable defences. Of the 19 matches Seeling played for Auckland nearly half were in shield games.

Seeling’s quality was apparent from the time he was included in Auckland’s sides and in 1904, aged only 21, he was included in the New Zealand side which played the touring Great Britain side at Athletic Park, the first test played in this country.

One of the first chosen for the Originals, Seeling had a wonderful tour and with Billy Wallace, Jimmy Hunter, Billy Stead, Fred Roberts and, of course, the captain Dave Gallaher, ranks among the most influential players of that great side.

He played in 25 matches, including all five internationals, and scored eight tries. As a noted British critic E H D Sewell observed, his contribution was colossal. Wrote Sewell: “This splendid speciman of manhood has everything necessary to the composition of a good forward. Search where one may, a better forward than Seeling does not exist.”

New Zealand judges were just as glowing in their praise of Seeling. In 1961 the eminent coach of the 1920s, Norman McKenzie, said of him: “He was the type of forward rarely seen in his day and though they are more common today none would equal the tackling of Charlie … he was a terror to all opposition inside backs.”

Seeling continued to be an All Black first choice in the next few seasons. He went on the 1907 tour of Australia and played in all three tests in 1908 against the touring Anglo-Welsh. In all he played 39 games for New Zealand including 11 tests, a considerable number in those years when official internationals were much rarer than today.

After just 64 first class matches Seeling quit New Zealand rugby when in 1910 he was lured to Britain to play professional league for the Wigan club. There he added to his legend playing for the club for another 13 years as both a back and forward and often as captain until he was 39.

He spent the rest of his life in Britain, dying in 1956 at the age of 73 in a car accident.

Profile by Lindsay Knight
for the New Zealand Rugby Museum.

FULL NAME Charles Edward Seeling
BORN Monday, 14 May 1883 in Wanganui, New Zealand
DIED Sunday, 27 May 1956 in Stalybridge, England
PHYSICAL 1.83m, 86kg
POSITION Loose Forward
LAST SCHOOL Wanganui District High
(First made All Blacks from)
ALL BLACK DEBUT Saturday, 13 August 1904
v British & Irish Lions at Wellington
aged 21 years, 91 days
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT Saturday, 13 August 1904
v British & Irish Lions at Wellington
aged 21 years, 91 days
LAST TEST Saturday, 25 July 1908
v British & Irish Lions at Auckland
aged 25 years, 72 days
Jersey Number 6
Jersey Number 7:
ALL BLACK TEST POINTS 6pts (2t, 0c, 0p, 0dg, 0m)
ALL BLACK GAME POINTS 27pts (9t, 0c, 0p, 0dg, 0m)
TOTAL ALL BLACK POINTS 33pts (11t, 0c, 0p, 0dg, 0m)

(+) = substitute; (-) = replaced

Click on the date below to view the Match Card
13 Aug vs British & Irish Lions at Wellington 9-3
1 Jul vs Auckland at Auckland 9-3
8 Jul vs N.S.W. at Sydney 19-0
12 Jul vs Metropolitan Union at Sydney 22-3
15 Jul vs N.S.W. at Sydney 8-8
29 Jul vs Wellington Province at Wellington 0-3
16 Sep vs Devon at Exeter 55-4
21 Sep vs Cornwall at Camborne 41-0
23 Sep vs Bristol at Bristol 41-0
28 Sep vs Northampton at Northampton 32-0
30 Sep vs Leicester at Leicester 28-0
4 Oct vs Middlesex at London 34-0
11 Oct vs Hartlepool Clubs at West Hartlepool 63-0
14 Oct vs Northumberland at North Shields 31-0
19 Oct vs Gloucester at Gloucester 44-0
21 Oct vs Somerset at Taunton 23-0
25 Oct vs Devonport Albion at Devonport 21-3
28 Oct vs Midland Counties at Leicester 21-5
4 Nov vs Blackheath at London 32-0
15 Nov vs Bedford XV at Bedford 41-0
18 Nov vs Scotland at Edinburgh 12-7
22 Nov vs West of Scotland at Glasgow 22-0
25 Nov vs Ireland at Dublin 15-0
2 Dec vs England at London 15-0
9 Dec vs Cheshire at Birkenhead 34-0
16 Dec vs Wales at Cardiff 0-3
21 Dec vs Glamorgan County at Swansea 9-0
23 Dec vs Newport at Newport 6-3
26 Dec vs Cardiff at Cardiff 10-8
30 Dec vs Swansea at Swansea 4-3
1 Jan vs France at Paris 38-8
13 Jul vs N.S.W. at Sydney 11-3
20 Jul vs Australia at Sydney 26-6
24 Jul vs Queensland at Brisbane 23-3
27 Jul vs Queensland at Brisbane 17-11
3 Aug vs Australia at Brisbane 14-5
6 Jun vs British & Irish Lions at Dunedin 32-5
27 Jun vs British & Irish Lions at Wellington 3-3
25 Jul vs British & Irish Lions at Auckland 29-0
t c p dg pts
vs Bristol, 23 Sep 1905 1 3
vs Middlesex, 4 Oct 1905 1 3
vs Northumberland, 14 Oct 1905 1 3
vs Gloucester, 19 Oct 1905 1 3
vs Somerset, 21 Oct 1905 2 6
vs Bedford XV, 15 Nov 1905 1 3
vs West of Scotland, 22 Nov 1905 1 3
vs N.S.W., 13 Jul 1907 1 3
vs Australia, 20 Jul 1907 1 3
vs Australia, 3 Aug 1907 1 3
Totals 11 0 0 0 33
P W D L t c p dg pts
Australia 2 2 2 6
British & Irish Lions 4 3 1
England 1 1
France 1 1
Ireland 1 1
Scotland 1 1
Wales 1 1
Totals 11 9 1 1 2 0 0 0 6