Jul 03

Joe Stanley

Personal Life:

Joseph Tito Stanley (Nicknamed: Smokin’ Joe Stanley, born April 13, 1957 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a former Auckland Provincial Rugby Player and New Zealand All Blacks Rugby player.

Stanley was a member of the Baby Blacks in 1986 – but graced international rugby for six years. In that time he made 49 All Black appearances, with very few in a losing team.

He is also the cousin of Everton striker Tim Cahill.


Professional Career:

Stanley made his Test debut for his national team against France on June 28, 1986 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Stanley was a quiet achiever in rugby, but an achiever on a grand scale. All his teammates from the 1980s and the 1990s – rate him as the best centre of their time. He didn’t have a sprinter’s pace or a ram-rod fend but he did have rugby vision and the ability to do the right thing at the right time, every time.

A brilliant passer of the ball, Stanley had the ability to read opposition defences and put his man into a gap. All the teams Stanley played for – scored tries by the cartload. He was a classic centre, a servant rather than a finisher. He could finish when the opportunity presented itself, but was always looking to use the whole width of the field and every man in the team.

Stanley was already well past 50 matches for Auckland, and that experience and refusal to panic stood the All Blacks in good stead. It would continue to do so for several years. He played 27 consecutive tests and was never left out until 1990.

Stanley played his last Test match as All Black test centre on Saturday, 23 June 1990 against Scotland in Auckland, New Zealand. He remained an All Black through to the 1991 Argentina tour, the elder statesman in the side, helping young players come to grips with the demands of international play.

Coming from sporting stock, Stanley has passed on his skills to the rest of the Stanley clan with son Jeremy and nephew Benson both having played for the All Blacks. Three players (lan Jones, Olo Brown and Walter Little) share the distinction of playing in All Black teams with both Stanleys, a very rare thing in international rugby.

In the time since his representative days closed, he has played and coached in Japan, acted as a host on many occasions and, in 1998, assisted in the coaching of the Auckland side. Joe Stanley’s involvement in rugby is nowhere near at an end.


Highlights & Awards:

  • 2011 Inducted into the Samoan Sports Award’s Hall of Fame
  • Member of the New Zealand All Blacks squad who won their first Web Ellis Cup title in 1987

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