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The Gisborne Photo News



Paul Tocker

Most rugby followers in P.B. during the 1970s will remember the lightweight flanker who made opposing inside backs life hell. A thinking player, he could read the game and play within an inch of being off-side for 80 minutes. In those days Poverty Bay held their own against sides such as Bay of Plenty & Counties with few team changes and the likes of Robbie Newlands, Wilton McFarlane, Grant Allen, Phil Duncan, Alistair Swann and the Kirkpatrick brothers in the line-up. Now 41 year old Paul Tocker, along with assistant coach Alistair Swann, is charged with the job of getting P.B. to the top of the 3rd Division. Paul began his schooling at Elgin and came under the influence of his first rugby coach George Walford at Gisborne Intermediate. His obvious talent was recognised by Dick Glover at Gisborne Boys' High where he played in the 1st XV in 1969/70. HSOB won the Senior Championship in '72 with a young Tocker on the side of the scrum, then it was off to Australia and a stint for Souths in Brisbane for the bulk of the '73 season. Returning to NZ Paul played for Marist through till his retirement in 1982. He was a PB rep. from 1972-80, mainly under the guidance of the late Tony Sheehan, playing his first game against East Coast aged 19. Paul's working career began at McCullochs then alongside Alistair Swann, Johnny Collins and Pat Ransley at Sheepfarmers woolstore where rugby would have been high on the conversation list. After 2 years in wool with Brian Sampson he joined the City Council as Accountant where he has remained since 1985. Married to ex-rep netballer Maree (nee Sharp) the couple have two daughters Melissa (14) and Nicole (11). As a result netball has featured in the Tocker household and Maree is now involved in the running scene, recently completing the Fletcher marathon. Coaching Marist seniors in 1990/91, the emerging players and NZ Marist Colts has prepared Paul for PB Rugby's top job. He sees his role as a management one and believes in taking the time to get to know his players who come to him trained and prepared by their club. Attitude is as important as ability and it is Paul Tocker's wish that, barring major injuries, a young Poverty Bay side will be keen to play and competitive.


1974 PB V Auckland. PB won 29-9