New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame > Inductees > Albert Baskerville

Albert Baskerville

(1883 - 1908)

Albert Baskerville
He founded rugby league in New Zealand and was one of the instigators of international league, organising the first tests in Australia, England and Wales.

Baskerville was a rugby player who became intrigued with the breakaway sport of Northern Union being played in England and in 1907 organised the first New Zealand league team.

He recruited several of the Original All Blacks and took the team first to Sydney, where he persuaded leading rugby players to also take up the new sport.

One of them, Dally Messenger, joined the All Golds on their tour and was later one of the most revered players in Australian league.

Baskerville’s team played 35 games in Britain and won test series against England and Australia, but lost to Wales.

Baskerville, only 25, died of pneumonia in Brisbane on the way home from the tour.

The first league match in New Zealand, at Athletic Park in Wellington in 1908, was played in his honour.
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