With the future of AMI Stadium up in the air, Sports Editor Nick Tolerton talks to a man who knows it better than most - Fergie McCormick, now 72, who played a record 222 matches for Canterbury, as well as 44 for the All Blacks.
What's your own favourite memory of Lancaster Park, Fergie?
I'd have to look at my second first-class game for Canterbury, which was against the British Lions in 1959, and we beat them 20-14. The place was chocka, mate. I'd played my first in Wellington which we lost. We had three or four youngies like me and Kel Tremain and Bruce Watt who hadn't played first-class rugby, but a win like that puts you on a pretty good path. Buddy Henderson was the kicker - I was just the fullback. I remember tackling their right
winger when they had an overlap, and was lucky to get him down. He got a bit gunshy after that. Tony O'Reilly was on the left wing and I just hung on to him in the No. 4 Stand corner in the first half. If it wasn't for Hugh Burry helping, he could have scored.
You also had a big impact in an international match in your final rep season in 1975?
I'd put my knee out and knew big games were coming up. I was told it had to be in plaster for six weeks but I played three weeks later. I came back against Fiji and scraped through, and then scraped through a provincial game, and then we played Scotland and beat them. A ruck had formed and Billy Bush had the ball and passed it to me when he heard me yell for it. I ran the blindside, cannoned off the referee which helped a wee bit, and scored near the
What about tests at Lancaster Park?
I only played one there, against Wales in 1969 in the mud. That '69 side, let's be honest, really carried on from Fred Allen's 1967 team. Every one of those players knew each other. We demolished the Welsh on Lancaster Park and it was a superb effort by the players, every one of us. We took Wales apart, really.
You also had a memorable Ranfurly Shield moment?
Yes, I dropped kicked a goal against Wellington with 2min to go to hold the shield in 1970. I'd just come back from Africa, and I think we played a game against West Coast on a Wednesday and then we got Wellington. If it hadn't gone over, I'd probably still be running.
What was your worst day on the park?
Losing the shield to Marlborough.
What was your first match there?
A rep game for Canterbury under five stone, and I played lock! I saw the light after that. We played in the morning and it was a big build up to some game. I tell you how small I was, I played three years under five-stone for Linwood.
What are doing doing these days, Fergie?
Still living out at Greenpark, and still doing a bit of real estate, although there's not much out there for me at the moment.
You do some coaching, too?
I coach the Linwood women, and follow my daughter Jess who's in the Canterbury squad, and I go to Canterbury games when I can.
What do you think should happen to the park?
We don't need a ground that big. If she's got to go, she's got to go. It's going to cost a lot of money to fix. We need a sports stadium built - and we've got plenty of land around Christchurch to do it - which would hold 35,000 and be suitable for rugby, league, and soccer.