Neath RFC sends its condolences to the family and friends of former New Zealand R.U. President R.W. (Tane) Norton.
Tane Norton was a hooker who played for the Linwood club, Canterbury and New Zealand whom he captained 9 times.
He toured these islands with New Zealand in 1972/73 and hooked against Neath-Aberavon at The Gnoll, Neath on January 24, 1973 in a game which signalled the last stand for the Combined XV against a touring side. The tourists romped home 43-3 and the teams were :-
NEATH-ABERAVON – Wynne Davies (N); David Jenkins (N), Glen Ball (N, capt), Jeff Thomas (A), Ken Collier (N); David Parker (N), Clive Shell (A); Glyn Shaw (N), Morton Howells (A), Roy Lewis (N); Billy Mainwaring (A), Allan Martin (A); Wilson Lauder (N), Dave Morris (N), Ogwyn Alexander (A)
NEW ZEALAND – J.F.Karam; D.A.Hales, I.A.Hurst, M.Sayers, G.B.Batty (B.G.Williams); R.E.Burgess, G.L.Colling; G.J.Whiting, R.W.Norton, S.McNicol; H.H.MacDonald, A.M.Haden; K.W.Stewart, A.J.Wyllie, I.A.Kirkpatrick (capt)
Referee – Mr. P.E. Hughes (England)
He returned to The Gnoll on March 20, 1979 when Neath hosted the star-studded “Cantabrian” touring team and put up a tremendous fight, ace goal-kicker John Pritchard landing three penalties, before being pipped 9-10.
On that occasion, the teams were :-
NEATH -John Pritchard; Don Davies, David Cole, Robert Mogford, Bleddyn Taylor; Peter Davies (captain), Ness Flowers; Doug Mills, Mike Richards, David Lewis; Steve Dando, Robert Hughes; Mike Messenger, Phil Pugh, Peter Jones (Paul Hitchings)
N.Z. CANTABRIANS – W.F. McCormick; B. Fraser, K.J. Keane, J.E. Morgan, A. Jefferd; D.J. Robertson, L.J. Davis; B. Thompson, R.W. Norton, K.J. Tanner; H.H. MacDonald, V.E.T. Stewart; K.J. Stewart, A.J. Wyllie (captain), D. Thompson
Referee – Mr. W.K.M. Jones (Gwaun-cae-Gurwen)
Tane Norton will be remembered as a fiercely competitive and energetic hooker by those who watched him at The Gnoll.