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Peter Henderson (sportsman)

Peter Henderson
Peter Henderson 1948.jpg
Henderson in 1948
Date of birth(1926-04-18)18 April 1926
Place of birthGisborne, New Zealand
Date of death24 November 2014(2014-11-24) (aged 88)
Place of deathTauranga, New Zealand
Height1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight81 kg (179 lb)
SchoolGisborne Boys' High School
Rugby league career
Position(s) Wing
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1950–57 Huddersfield (633)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1953 Other Nationalities (12)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing
All Black No. 488
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1944–45 Hawke's Bay ()
1946–50 Wanganui 26 ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1949–50 New Zealand 7 (6)

Peter "Sammy" Henderson (18 April 1926 – 24 November 2014) was a New Zealand rugby union and rugby league footballer. He also competed at the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland, winning a bronze medal in the 4 x 110 yards men's relay.


Born in Gisborne and educated at Gisborne Boys' High School, Henderson made his provincial rugby union début for Hawke's Bay in 1944. Moving to Wanganui, where he worked as a dental technician, he played rugby union for the Kaierau Club, and 26 representative matches for Wanganui. He was a member of the ill-fated 1949 All Blacks side, captained by Fred Allen, which lost all four tests on its tour of South Africa. Henderson was top try scorer on the tour, with seven tries.

Henderson excelled in several sports, including sprinting. Following his return from South Africa he had little time to change sports and get into serious sprint training for the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland. He won a bronze medal as part of the men's 4 x 110 yards relay alongside Kevin Beardsley, Arthur Eustace and Clem Parker. He also competed in the 100 yards where he placed fifth in the final. A medium-sized wing at 1.72 m and 81 kg, Henderson is still credited with being one of the fastest All Blacks of all time, with a time of 9.7 seconds for 100 yards.

Henderson returned to club and representative rugby in Wanganui, playing three tests against the touring British Lions in 1950, and against them for Wanganui. In all, he played 19 matches for the All Blacks, including seven internationals.

Henderson had lost his job while playing in South Africa, so he announced he was headed to England to play in professional rugby league. It was then that the New Zealand Rugby Union banned him from union, a ban which lasted 38 years. He signed with Huddersfield, where he stayed for seven years. He played right wing, i.e. number 2, in Huddersfield's 15–10 victory over St. Helens in the 1953 Challenge Cup Final during the 1952-53 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 25 April 1953, in front of a crowd of 89,588. He also played for the Other Nationalities side that won the 1953 tri-nations test series against England and France.

Henderson played right wing, i.e. number 2, in Huddersfield's 18–8 victory over Batley in the 1952 Yorkshire County Cup Final during the 1952–53 season at Headingley Rugby Stadium, Leeds on Saturday 15 November 1952.

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