Born: 5 January, 1922 – Atarau
Died: 12 October, 2012 – Greymouth
Test record: 5 Tests (1946-47, 1949) – 0 points
Tours: 1947-48 tour of Great Britain and France, 1948 tour of Australia
West Coast hooker Bob Aynsley was a Kiwis regular in the years immediately following international rugby league’s post-World War II resumption, playing five Tests and making two overseas tours.
A product of the Blackball club, Aynsley debuted for West Coast in 1944 and South Island the following season. After representing South Island and West Coast against the Great Britain ‘Indomitables’ in 1946, he was chosen as New Zealand’s hooker for the one-off Test against the tourists.
Aynsley played three of the five Tests on tour against Great Britain and France among 17 appearances for the 1947-48 Kiwis.
The presence of captain Pat Smith restricted Aynsley to three minor matches on the 1948 tour of Australia. But with Smith picked at prop during the 1949 home series against Australia, Aynsley returned at hooker for New Zealand’s 26-21 victory in the first Test at the Basin Reserve. He played for South Island against the visitors but was usurped by Auckland rival and 1947-48 tour-mate George Davidson for the second Test after struggling in the scrums against Australia’s Kevin Schubert.
Aynsley continue to represent West Coast and South Island until 1951, then moved into the refereeing ranks. His highest-profile appointment was the Canterbury v France match in 1960. Aynsley was subsequently a long-serving administrator, coach and selector.
Aynsley’s contribution to the game was recognised with life membership of West Coast and New Zealand Rugby Leagues. He passed away in Greymouth in 2012, aged 90.