Born: 11 January, 1924 – Hikurangi
Died: 19 November, 2015 – Taupaki
Test record: 4 Tests (1946-48) – 1 try (3 points)
Tours: 1947-48 tour of Britain and France, 1948 tour of Australia
Fleet-footed halfback Rex Cunningham was a Kiwis regular during rugby league’s post-WWII resumption, making two tours abroad and playing Tests against Great Britain, France and Australia.
The 22-year-old City Rovers playmaker represented Auckland against the touring Lions in 1946 to earn a call-up for the one-off Test, featuring in the halves alongside captain and Auckland teammate Roy Clark as New Zealand carved out a memorable 13-8 win at Carlaw Park.
Cunningham went away to Britain and France with the 1947-48 Kiwis and retained his spot for the series opener against Great Britain at Leeds, won 11-10 by the hosts. Len Jordan, Ken Mountford and Jimmy Haig occupied the halfback spot for the remaining Tests, but he returned for the second Test against France at five-eighth and scored New Zealand’s only try in a 25-7 defeat. He played in 12 minor matches on tour.
Cunningham five appearances on the 1948 tour of Australia included the second-Test loss in Brisbane, coming in at five-eighth for Abby Graham.