Born: 31 December, 1962 – Auckland
Test record: 4 Tests (1989) – 6 goals)
Tours: 1989 tour of Great Britain and France
Auckland and All Blacks midfield back Kurt Sherlock switched codes at a time when New Zealand rugby union defections were relatively rare. But he was a versatile performer during six seasons at Eastern Suburbs Roosters, while he became New Zealand’s first dual international in over 40 years – a precursor to the torrent of converts that flooded the Australian premiership and Kiwis squads in the early-1990s.
The Massey High School product was a regular for the powerful Auckland provincial line-up in the mid-1980s – forming a valued midfield partnership with Joe Stanley – and toured Argentina with the All Blacks in 1985, playing three matches (no Tests).
Overlooked by the national selectors in 1986 despite the mass suspensions dished out to players who defied the NZRFU and toured South Africa with the Cavaliers, Sherlock was lured to Sydney by the Roosters ahead of the 1987 premiership. He took some time to find his feet in rugby league – eight of his modest 17 top-grade appearances in his first two seasons were off the bench – but became a regular at five-eighth or centre at Easts in 1989 and became the club’s first-choice goalkicker.
Sherlock debuted for the Kiwis off the bench against the ’89 Australian tourists in the third Test, a 22-14 loss at Mt Smart Stadium, before setting off on the end-of-season tour of Britain and France. The 28-year-old featured at centre in the first and second Tests against Great Britain (he was relegated to the reserves for the third-Test decider but was not used), and came off the bench in the one-off Test in France, slotting six goals in total. Sherlock played another six games on tour, scoring a try in a win over Castleford and landing another four goals.
Though further opportunities for New Zealand were not forthcoming, Sherlock remained a Roosters regular – spending much of 1991 at halfback before being retrenched to hooker in 1992, retiring at the end of the latter season with 88 games and 235 points in first grade to his credit.