Alf Larard
Full names: Arthur
Date of birth: 30 Dec 1870
Place of birth: Kingston-upon-Hull, England
Springbok no: 46
Debut test province: Transvaal
Date of death: 15 Aug 1936 (Age 65)

Test summary: Tests: 2 Tries: 1
First Test: 22 Aug 1896 Age:25 Halfback against Britain at Wanderers, Johannesburg
Last Test: 5 Sep 1896 Age:25 Halfback against Britain at Newlands, Cape Town
Test history:
22 Aug 189625HalfbackBritainLose: 8-17 Wanderers, JohannesburgTvl
05 Sep 189625HalfbackBritainWin: 5-01 tryNewlands, Cape TownTvl

Alf Larard

Like most of his rugby contemporaries, Larard was not South African born. Indeed the Kingston-Upon-Hull man arrived on the Witwatersrand in 1887 chasing gold and stayed for several years. During his stay in Johannesburg, he joined the Diggers Rugby Union Football Club (est. 1893), an affiliate of the Transvaal Rugby Football Union in 1895.

As a member of this multi-sport club, he contributed to their winning its first honours, the Transvaal Grand Challenge Trophy. Thereafter he established himself to become a regular member of the team; representing it in the Grand Challenge, Adler Shield as well as in the Jubilee Trophy competitions.

During his Diggers years, the club, despite not having a very large pool of players, won the Grand Challenge Trophy in successive years (1895-99). Among his fellow team members were Christiaan Beyers, who during the South African War would become General CF Beyers to spearhead the military campaigns against the British forces. Larard also represented the club on the cricket pitch during the 1897 season.

During the tour of the British Lions in 1896, Alf was selected to represent the Johannesburg Country XV against the tourists in the 13th match of the tour on Wednesday 12 August in Johannesburg. Despite a large number of Diggers players in the side (10 out of 15), the Lions emerged victorious by 7 – 0.

Three days later, Larard was included in the Transvaal side to play the tourists. As a fully representative side, the home team provided stiffer opposition. They however still lost the match by 16 -3 before a crowd of 7000.

Four days after this match, Larard and his Transvaal team mates squared up to meet the tourists for a second encounter in Johannesburg. For the second time they suffered defeat, losing by 15 – 5. As reward for consistent performances, Larard was selected to represent the South African XV in the Second Test scheduled for Saturday, 22 August 1896 in Johannesburg. Once again the domination of the Transvaal players in the side made no difference as they lost the game with 17 - 8.

After losing his place for the third international, Larard was brought back for the fourth test on the 5th September 1896 at Newlands in Cape Town. In a side containing only three Transvaal players, Larard, playing at halfback scored the only try of the match to ensure a famous first victory in international test matches. In the Annals of South African Rugby, the prelude to this historic try is described as follows:

“South Africa then started one of the finest movements of the day when Larard, Aston, Anderson and Hepburn, in a pretty inter-passing movement, carried play into the British “25”. Here Bulger kicked out and Byrne obtained from the throw-in. He was tackled, and Anderson took the ball out of his hands to run right through. When tackled by Meares he led out to Larard who ran over under the goal posts. “England raised objection but the try was allowed” and Hepburn converted to make the halftime score 5 -0”

Alf Larard, being a patriotic Englishman, joined the Imperial Light Horse Regiment to fight in the South African War. This placed him in direct opposition to his former Diggers and Transvaal team mates. Having survived the war, he returned to the north of England where he joined Huddersfield Rugby League Football Club. During his time at the club he made 100 appearances and scored 14 tries. He finally retired from the game at the end of the 1904/5 season, having captained Huddersfield in his last season.