Born: 6 September, 1897 – Blenheim
Died: 9 May, 1969 – Auckland
Test record: 5 Tests (1924, 1928)
Tours: 1925 tour of Australia
Dual international forward Jim O’Brien represented New Zealand in five rugby league Tests against England after becoming an All Black in 1922.
The Marlborough rugby union rep turned out against the famed 1921 South African Springboks for a team made up of players from Marlborough, Nelson, Golden Bay and Motueka, then earned All Blacks selection in 1922 following his move to Auckland. O’Brien played three matches on the tour of New Zealand and New South Wales – against Wairarapa, Metropolitan United (Sydney) and NSW.
O’Brien represented Auckland in 1923 but switched codes the following season with the Marist club.
A place in the Auckland rugby league side came immediately and he was a front-rower in all three Tests against the 1924 England tourists, scoring a try in the series-sealing second-Test win in Wellington and the dead-rubber loss in Dunedin.
O’Brien toured Australia with New Zealand in 1925, making seven appearances in the back-row and featuring in all four matches against NSW and both encounters with Queensland. Later that year, he was in the pack for New Zealand’s two matches against Queensland in Auckland, as well as his province’s draw against the visitors.
After a couple of years off the international scene, O’Brien returned for the first two Tests of the 1928 home series against England but injury ruled him out of the deciding third match.