1955 All Black Lindsay Townsend passed away on June 2nd in Whangarei aged 86 years. His memorial service was to held on the 11th June.
A halfback, he showed a lot of promise and became an All Black at just 21 years of age against the touring Australian side, but he only played 2 tests and was considered unlucky not to get another opportunity.
He played for the Southern senior side for 5 years. He debuted for Otago in 1953 as a 19 year old.
He is survived by wife Zena, daughters Kelly and Fleur, and son Scott.
The following All Black player profile is from the NZ Rugby Museum, Lindsay Knight:
In the mid 1950s Lindsay Townsend was seen as New Zealand’s great hope at halfback and at the age of 21 was given two of the three tests against the touring Wallabies in 1955.
But he and Canterbury’s John Hotop, as an inside back pairing, had an especially unhappy day in the third test loss at Eden Park and neither was required for the All Blacks again.
Townsend, who was the son of L G Townsend, an Otago and Southland representative of the 1920s, came into the Otago side as a 19-year old in 1953 and played 35 matches for that province up until the end of the 1957 season. The highlight of his Otago career was to be in the side which lifted the Ranfurly Shield from Wellington in 1957.
He showed such promise in his debut season that in 1954, aged only 20, he was chosen for the South Island and went from there to play for the Rest of New Zealand against the 1953-54 All Blacks in a special match and for a New Zealand XV against New Zealand Maori.
In 1955, after playing again in the interisland match and in two New Zealand XV games, Townsend was given his two caps against the Wallabies.
But two disappointing matches saw him slip down the rankings in 1956, even though he was given a trial and came on for his third appearance for the South Island as a second spell replacement at fullback.
In 1958 Townsend moved to North Auckland and played in 46 matches for his new union until his farewell season in 1963. The only national recognition Townsend received in these years, though, was a couple of preliminary trials in 1958-59.
But, ironically, he was probably a better all round halfback then than when he had been in his All Black days. He was critically acclaimed for his performances in his seasons with North Auckland, which included appearances against international tourists such as the Wallabies in 1958, the Lions in 1959 and France in 1961. Two of these games, against the Wallabies and France, were won by North Auckland.
In 1976-79 Townsend was the North Auckland representative team’s selector-coach. He was in charge of the side which took the shield from Manawatu in 1978 and for defences in the following year.
Considering his origins in southern New Zealand this may have been a bitter-sweet experience for Townsend. For in 1978, while he was the coach, the North Auckland union caused a huge controversy by declining challenges from Otago and Southland.