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Charles Savory (23 March 1889 – 8 May 1915) was a New Zealand international rugby league footballer and champion boxer who died in the First World War. An Australasian and New Zealand international representative forward, Savory was one of four Kiwis players selected to go on the 1911–12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain. Due to playing the same sports, he has been described as "the Sonny Bill Williams of his time."[2]

Charlie Savory
Charles Savory 1911.jpg
Personal information
Full nameCharles Savory
Born23 March 1889
New Zealand
Died8 May 1915(1915-05-08) (aged 26)
Gallipoli, Turkey
Playing information
Years Team Pld T G FG P
Ponsonby United (ARL)
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1911–14 New Zealand 1 0 0 0 0
1911–12 Australasia 0 0 0 0 0
Source: [1]

Rugby union careerEdit

In an Auckland Rugby Union club match, while Savory was playing for Ponsonby, he was suspended for two years for kicking a player.[3]

Rugby league careerEdit

Savory then joined the new Auckland Rugby League competition, playing for Ponsonby United. An Auckland representative, Savory was first selected for New Zealand in 1911 when they toured Australia, playing against New South Wales and Queensland.[4] He was then one of four New Zealanders selected to go on the 1911–12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain.[5] In 1912 he was sent off during a match for Ponsonby United and was suspended for the rest of the season, missing the 1912 New Zealand tour.

In 1913 Savory was found guilty of kicking by the ARL judiciary and was suspended for life. Savory claimed it was a case of mistaken identity. This sparked a feud between the ARL and the New Zealand Rugby League as the NZRL heard the case and asked the ARL to reconsider, which they refused to do in June. The NZRL then quashed the conviction and Savory played for New Zealand while he was still suspended by the ARL. The incident resulted in the NZRL suspending the entire ARL board and on 15 January 1914 the NZRL approved an entirely "new" ARL board.[3] Savory again toured Australia in 1913 and in 1914 played in a Test match against the touring Great Britain Lions.

Boxing careerEdit

In 1914 Savory won the National Amateur Heavyweight Boxing championship.[3]

World War IEdit

Savory enlisted with the outbreak of World War I. He died of wounds at Gallipoli on 8 May 1915[6] after landing at Ari Burnu with the Auckland Battalion.[7]

The 2015 Anzac Test man of the match, Manu Vatuvei, was awarded the Charles Savory medal.[8][9]


  1. ^ "Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ IAN HEADS (19 April 2015). "Charles Savory — the brilliant sportsman who lived colourfully then died suddenly in Gallipoli". THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Coffey, John and Bernie Wood Auckland, 100 years of rugby league, 1909–2009, 2009. ISBN 978-1-86969-366-4, p.p.44-46
  4. ^ SAVORY, CHARLES 1911, 1913 – 14 – KIWI #61 Archived 23 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Coffey, John; Wood,, Bernie (2008). 100 years: Māori rugby league, 1908–2008. Huia Publishers. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-86969-331-2.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  6. ^ "ROLL OF HONOUR" (PDF). Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  7. ^ Middleton, David (24 April 2010). "Footy stars taken on battlefield". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Kiwis stun Kangaroos in Brisbane". 3 May 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  9. ^ "ANZAC Test representatives to play for the Charles Savory Medal". 29 April 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.