Arthur Francis (rugby)
|Full name||Arthur Reginald Howe Francis|
8 June 1882|
Whanganui, New Zealand
|Died||15 June 1957
Takapuna, New Zealand
|Height||190 cm (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||14 st 0 lb (88.9 kg; 196.0 lb)|
|Position||Prop, Lock/Loose forward|
Arthur Reginald Howe 'Bolla'/'Alf' Francis (born 8 June 1882 in Whanganui – died 15 June 1957 (aged 75) in Takapuna) was a New Zealand dual-code international rugby union and rugby league footballer of the 1900s, '10s and '20s, and rugby union coach of the 1930s, playing representative level rugby union (RU) for New Zealand, and Auckland, and at club level for Ponsonby RFC, and playing representative level rugby league (RL) for New Zealand, and Australasia, and at club level for Wigan and Hull, as Prop, or Lock/Loose forward, i.e. number 8 or 10, or 13, during the era of contested scrums, and coaching club level rugby union (RU) for Grammar RFC.
Rugby union career
Francis played club rugby union for Ponsonby RFC and was part of successive Auckland Rugby Union championships between 1908 and 1910. Francis made his Auckland debut in 1904 and scored a penalty, in the 1905 Ranfurly Shield victory over Wellington.
Francis made his All Blacks debut in 1905 against Australia and became an automatic selection, playing in a total of ten Test matches in the next five years. In 1910 Francis and team mate George A. Gillett rescued Anglo-Welsh Lions player Percy Down, who had fallen into the sea, keeping him afloat until a rope was lowered from the ship upon which Down was about to return to Great Britain.
Rugby league career
Francis switched codes in 1911, joining the Auckland Rugby League competition. He represented Auckland and New Zealand in his inaugural season, touring Australia, before being selected to be part of the Australasia side that toured Great Britain at the end of the year. In 1912 he captained New Zealand on his second tour of Australia. However, half way through the tour, Francis left the touring party to take up a contract with Wigan. Arthur Francis played Right-Prop, i.e. number 10, in Wigan's 21-5 victory over Rochdale Hornets in the 1912 Lancashire Cup final during the 1912–13 season at Weaste, Salford, on Wednesday 11 December 1912. He would go on to play 214 first grade matches for Wigan before joining Hull, where he won a Rugby League Cup Final Medal.