Arthur Francis (rugby)

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Arthur Francis
Personal information
Full name Arthur Reginald Howe Francis
Nickname Bolla, Alf
Born 8 June 1882
Whanganui, New Zealand
Died 15 June 1957 (aged 75)
Takapuna, New Zealand
Playing information
Height 190 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 14 st 0 lb (89 kg)
Rugby union
Position Lock
Years Team Pld T G FG P
≤1904–10 Ponsonby RFC
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1904–10 Auckland
1905–10 New Zealand 10 3 2 1 16
Rugby league
Position Prop, Lock/Loose forward
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1911–12 Unknown (ARL)
1912–19 Wigan 214 50 49 0 246
Total 214 50 49 0 246
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1911–12 Auckland
1911–12 New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0
1911–12 Australasia 2 1 2 0 7
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1930–35 Grammar RFC

Arthur Reginald Howe 'Bolla'/'Alf' Francis (8 June 1882 in Whanganui – 15 June 1957 in Takapuna) was a New Zealand dual-code international rugby union and rugby league footballer who played in the 1900s, 1910s, and 1920s, and coached rugby union in the 1930s, playing representative level rugby union (RU) for New Zealand, Auckland and at club level for Ponsonby RFC. He also played representative level rugby league (RL) for New Zealand and Australasia, as well as at club level for Wigan, 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.

Early years[edit]

Francis was born in Wanganui and educated at Auckland Grammar.[1]

Rugby union career[edit]

Francis played club rugby union for Ponsonby RFC and was part of successive Auckland Rugby Union championships between 1908 and 1910.[1] 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.[1]

Rugby league career[edit]

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, halfway 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 County Cup Final during the 1912–13 season at Weaste, Salford, on Wednesday 11 December 1912.[2] He would go on to play 214 first grade matches for Wigan.[1]

Coaching career[edit]

Francis was later reinstated by the New Zealand Rugby Union and coached rugby union at club level for Grammar RFC in the Auckland Rugby Union competition.

Personal life[edit]

Francis was the brother-in-law of The Original All Blacks captain, Dave Gallaher who married Ellen Ivy May Francis.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Arthur Francis
  2. ^ "1912-1913 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 

External links[edit]