The Lord Mayor’s Show
The late Sir Nicholas Shehadie
Sir Nicholas Shehadie was one of the great characters of Australian rugby. Apart from his notable playing career, he enjoyed a significant administrative career to the high offices of the International Rugby Board and not least sharing the introduction of rugby’s World Cup in 1987 with New Zealand administrator Dick Littlejohn.
He also made his mark in the political world winning election as the Lord Mayor of Sydney, the office of which he happened to inhabit when the Golden Oldies arrived in 1983.
Who better to open the Festival in his Sydney, than Sir Nick himself?
TP McLean takes up the story…..
“On the opening day of the festival at Coogee Oval, Nick, who was 57, stood around for the ceremonial and, remarking that he would next see everybody at the banquet (at the end of the festival), was about to depart on business. “Ave a go, mate”, someone shouted.
Nick stripped. He bustled all about the field, not it must be said, at pristine speed, but still running. He packed in the scrummages. He remembered some of the old trick stuff of the lineout. He showered.
“He said, ‘Right oh, fellers, be seeing you’: and sure enough, turned out for matches on both the second and final days. The spirit, the feeling, if you like, passion, of Golden Oldies rugby has enclasped him. He couldn’t keep away.”
Shehadie’s thoughts were conveyed in his parting message: “This is what rugby is all about. To start with it brought me back on the paddock again and I had three runs.
“I enjoyed myself immensely. I have never been associated with such a well-organised and smooth-running rugby event.
“The way in which the 16 nationalities involved here played the game and mixed off the field is a lesson of all the world. Surely, there would be no wars if we all played rugby like the Golden Oldies.”