It's becoming easier to regulate times of arrivals but by and large departures are harder to time. It is sometimes said of an awkward person: 'He'll probably die during Christmas dinner.' There are international rugby players who may not have been quite as inconvenient but who died on Christmas Day, probably not deliberately!
Philip Newton of England played in the pack for England in one Test, against Scotland in 1882. He was 86 when he died on Christmas Day in 1946. Apart from his Test, he played for Blackheath and Kent and won a Blue when up at Oxford.
Cecil Davies of Wales who was an RAF pilot when killed in action on Christmas Day in 1941 at the age of 32. He propped for Wales in just one Test, against England in 1934. He joined the Royal Air Force in peace time.
Thomas Harvey played eight times in the Irish pack in 1900-03. He also played cricket for the Gentlemen of Ireland and was later the Anglican Bishop of Cashel. Harvey was 88 when he died in Dublin on Christmas Day in 1966.
Tom Aitcheson of Scotland of Gala played fullback three times for Scotland in 1929. He died on Christmas Day 1977.
Ernest Harding of the Royal Navy, who died at Liskeard in 1980 at the age of 81, played just one Test in the England pack, against Ireland in 1931.
Thomas Gavin was the most remarkable of all the internationals who died on Christmas Day. He was born in England but of Irish parents and opted to play for Ireland. He played centre for Ireland in 1949 when the great Jackie Kyle was at the height of his powers as Ireland's flyhalf. That was when Ireland won a Triple Crown. Karl Mullen, a medical doctor like Kyle, was the captain. Gavin's profession was more unusual, for he was a priest of the Catholic Church. The newspaper announced his selection with 'Catholic priest in Ireland fifteen'.
At the time Fr Tom Gavin was playing centre for London Irish. He had been a priest for three years at that time. He was born in Coventry in 1922 and educated there and was ordained in 1946. From his schooldays at Cotton College in North Staffordshire he had a great love of rugby and later played for Cambridge, Moseley and then London Irish.
When the 1949 Irish team met in 1999 to celebrate their success in 1949, Monsignor Tom Gavin, a canon of the church, recalled that various Archbishops had argued over whether or not a Catholic priest should play for Ireland. But play he did. He later became the headmaster of Cotton College and then for many years a parish priest in Coventry and died in Coventry early in the morning of Christmas Day 2009. He was 87.
Mgr Tom Gavin is thought to be the only Catholic priest to play Test rugby when a priest. Fr Paul Kane, a Marist father in New Zealand, was 30 when he became an All Black, playing against New South Wales in 1921, a match which New Zealand does not recognise as a Test. Marney Cunningham was a civil engineer when he played flank for Ireland in 1955-56. Later he became a Catholic priest.
South Africa has a few players born on Christmas Day but only one who died in Somerset West on that day - Henry Morkel, a big, strong wing. His daughter Trinie, who was a widow at the time of his death, says that he played Currie Cup rugby at the age of 16 and was then chosen for the 1912 tour, but his mother persuaded him not to go by offering him a motor cycle.
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The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
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Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
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The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.