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Web Link: 'Young Vic' Cavanagh

'Old Vic' Cavanagh (1874 - 1952) and 'Young Vic' Cavanagh (1909 - 1980)

Caversham's 'Professors of Rugby'

Vic CavaanaghsVic Cavanagh was the son of a Northern Irish boilermaker, who spent all his working life in the clothing trade. He worked for Ross and Glendining for 58 years, managing its clothing factory from 1915-46. But it was as a rugby genius that Cavanagh won fame on the Flat. He was the first captain of the Southern Club, following the amalgamation of the Caversham and Pacific clubs in 1899. That year he represented Otago against Southland, the only representative match he ever played. It was as a coach that Cavanagh made his reputation. After three premierships with his old Southern Club between 1904 and 1915, he came out of 'retirement' to coach University A. Between 1923 and 1934 his Varsity teams were the Dunedin champions ten times. In the latter years Southern was coached by his son, also Vic and consequently known as 'Young Vic'. The fierce battles between Southern and Varsity attracted huge crowds, especially when they were played at Carisbrook. The two Cavanaghs joined forces to coach Otago and in 1936 held off eight challenges to retain the Ranfurly Shield. Their tactical innovations, especially the rugged forward play proved highly successful. Rucking became a defining feature of New Zealand rugby largely through their influence.

(Cavanagh Family)

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