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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1934

Jack Ruru ... An Appreciation

Jack Ruru ... An Appreciation

A white-jerseyed figure crashing down the British line to beat the stalwart Bassett's tackle and score a magnificent try in the corner amidst the deafening applause of a vast crowd—that is the first impression I have of Jack Ruru, and to-day it still lingers clearest in my memory.

Though it is now four years since that great match, the New Zealand Maoris versus the British Team, was played on Athletic Park, Jack Ruru's try is as clear to-day as if he scored it yesterday.

Picturing that well-built figure in the clean white jersey I can still remember the surprise I felt when I was introduced to a smiling stocky lad with an engaging friendly face, anything but the big white-clad footballer who had so nearly won the game against Britain.

Jack Ruru was, above all, a 'Varsity man. He could have achieved even greater fame had he played with a stronger team, yet Jack stuck to the green jersey through four years of 'Varsity football failure, and never let the cheery grin of good humour and hope fade.

"We'll come again," he said, and he believed it.

Four games only with 'Varsity sufficed to gain him a place in the New Zealand University team for Australia, a tour on which he gained the name of being one of the most promising backs to visit Sydney from New Zealand. He played in each 'Varsity Test with Sydney, and his great game marking such a world-famous footballer as Cyril Towers in the New South Wales match showed that Jack Ruru was a player of the very top class. New Zealand won 28 to 10, and Jack Ruru had a great hand in winning that game so magnificently.

His record for the 'Varsity side has been truly great. Try after try which he has either scored or earned, call to mind the picture of this fine Maori. It was only a matter of time before such ability received its true reward, but death intervened when the goal was in sight.

Through Jack Ruru's keenness and ability the first fifteen was moulding into a team that next year might have brought 'Varsity football into its own once more. Jack will not be there to see the triumph that is his due.

Next season when on a fresh winter's day the College fifteen files out on to the field, there will be missing from the line one who by his dash and page 104 courage, and by the strict fairness of his play gained the admiration of all with whom, against whom, and before whom he played. But though Jack Ruru's dusky figure will be absent from its accustomed place in the field his memory will remain with his old team urging them on to further efforts. For every scrum won and every try gained will be in some small way his team's answer to Jack Ruru for all he did for 'Varsity football and in some small measure serve to show that we do not forget.

John Carrad.