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David "Dave" Gallaher (30 October 1873 –4 October 1917) was a New Zealand rugby union footballer, best known as the captain of "The Originals", the first New Zealand national rugby union team to be known as the All Blacks.

Born in Rameltonmarker, County Donegalmarker, Ireland, Gallaher's family emigrated to New Zealand in 1878. Originally settling in Katikatimarker in the Bay of Plentymarker, they moved to Aucklandmarker in the 1890s and it was there that Gallaher played his provincial rugby.

Gallaher played 26 representative matches for Auckland, including the first ever Ranfurly Shield defense, and 36 for the All Blacks, including 6 tests. Gallaher's All Black career spanned from 1903 to 1906, the highlight being the captaincy of the "Originals" tour in which he played 26 matches including 4 tests. Gallaher proved to be an outstanding leader and one of the deepest thinkers of the game in his era.

Gallaher fought in the Boer War serving as a corporal in the 6th and 10th New Zealand Contingents of Mounted Rifles. Although exempt from conscription due to his age, Gallaher also volunteered to fight in World War I, and apparently altered his date of birth to 31/10/76 or 31 October 1876 (see link to NZEF form below). He saw action at Ypresmarker, and was killed during the Passchendaelemarker offensive on 4 October 1917. He is buried at Nine Elms Cemetery, Poperingemarker, where his gravestone bears the silver fern. Two of Gallagher's brothers were also killed in France.


In 1922, the Auckland union introduced the Gallaher Shield in his honour as the trophy for that province's club competition.

Introduced in 2000, the Dave Gallaher Trophy is contested between New Zealand and France. It is awarded to the winner of the first test match between the two nations in any given year. So far it has been contested eight times, with the All Blacks victorious in 2000 and 2001, retaining the trophy after a 20-all draw in 2002, and winning again in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007. France won the trophy for the first time in 2009, although the All Blacks reclaimed the trophy again on the 28th of November 2009 after defeating France 39-12 in Marseille.

In 2005, the Letterkennymarker Rugby Football Club, the club closest to Gallaher's birthplace in Ramelton, chose to name its home ground the “Dave Gallaher Memorial Park” and unveiled a plaque at his birthplace. Members of the 2005 All Blacks, led by captain Tana Umaga, attended the unveiling.

On 30 November 2006 a film/documentary was launched in Century Cinema's Letterkenny, called Dave Gallaher, Legacy of an Irish Original, the film/documentary produced by Letterkenny Rugby Club and directed/edited by Wallace Media Studios, Donegal, outlines the history of Dave Gallaher, from his birth to his death, how the All Blacks trip to Donegal came about, exclusive footage and interviews with the All Blacks and how Gallaher's legacy has helped and will continue to help in the development of rugby union in Donegal.

Letterkennymarker based rugby player Jeremy Worth wrote a poem in honour of Dave Gallaher.


  1. Dave Gallaher - Tribute to a Legend at

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