FORMER All-Black captain Anton Oliver was in Limerick in recent days to take part in a leg of the Rugby Legends Malin to Mizen Charity Cycle.
Oliver teamed up with the only three brothers ever to play for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, David Wallace, Paul Wallace and Richard Wallace, and former Australian winger David Campese to take part in the week-long 800km charity cycle from one end of the country to the next.
The seven cycle is helping to raise awareness and vital funds for CROSS, a charity supporting cancer research and the improved patient care at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Trinity College and St. James’s Hospital. Former Ireland and Lions prop Paul Wallace is patron of CROSS.
Anton Oliver’s father Frank played for the All-Blacks in their famous 12-0 defeat to Munster at Thomond Park in 1978. Second row Frank Oliver played 43 times for the All-Blacks, including 17 Test matches.
Prior to starting the sixth leg of the cycle from outside KBC Bank’s new hub on O’Connell Street, Anton Oliver said he was very aware how much that defeat had hurt the New Zealanders.
“I know from talking to my father that defeat really hurt,” Anton Oliver said.
“I think the All-Blacks would have gone through that entire tour unbeaten if they didn’t lose that game. They never like to lose. Not taking anything away from Munster, the All-Blacks felt they didn’t turn up and fire a shot. There is that lovely old saying that they were lucky to get ‘nil’.
“It has gone down in the history books. From an All-Blacks you never, ever want to have your name on the team sheet when something like that happens. That lasts forever.
“It’s a lovely story from a Munster point of view and it very nearly happened again a few years ago.”
Former hooker Anton Oliver, who made 59 Test appearances for New Zealand, captained his country on 10 occasions. The 38-year-old said he was delighted to get involved in the Rugby Legends Malin to Mizen Charity Cycle after Paul Wallace had approached him.
“I know Paul for some time. Paul told me about the cycle he was doing and I said I would be glad to join him on it. Here I am,” Anton Oliver said.
“I am doing three legs on the cycle. I usually cycle to work, but yesterday’s leg (Galway to Limerick) was about 140kms more than I ever cycled in the past!”