The story of Wayne “Buck” Shelford


Today I’m going to talk about a man by the name of Wayne Shelford. How this guy is not well known everywhere apart from New Zealand is a mystery. I once heard about this story, like all great stories, at a pub. This is the story of New Zealand rugby legend Wayne “Buck” Shelford.

Wayne Shelford first played for the All Blacks in 1985 and went on to get 22 caps until he left the New Zealand side in 1991. As a Number 8, Buck is considered to be one of the best ever to play the position for the All Blacks and as a result is in the New Zealand rugby union Hall of Fame.

However none of this is why Buck Shelford is most remembered in his country.

In 1986, Buck was selected to play his second test match is a game so fierce it is known fondly as the “Battle of Nantes”. This test match against the French national side is where his name was written into All Blacks fokelore.

20 minutes into the game, Shelford was at the bottom of a ruck where (time to brace yourself Gentlemen) a French player’s boot stud caught Buck’s scrotum, tore it open and left a testicle hanging out. Oh and he lost some teeth in the process as well.


What happened next redefines the word “tough”. I’m pretty sure, if you’re anything like me, if that happened I would be off to hospital and probably never want to play a game of rugby ever again.

Not Bucky. The French crowd looked on in horror as he demaned that the team medic NOT call an ambulance, but instead perform some make shift surgery on the field.

A stitch here, a stitch there and Buck Shelford and his temporarily fixed scrotum went back on the field to continue playing for the All Blacks.

Tickity Boo and fucking squared away.

And that’s why Wayne “Buck” Shelford is a legend of Rugby Union and should be a more well known in sport around the world.


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