First XV star righting wrongs at world champs in honour of Maori great granddad who was denied All Blacks tour due to apartheid

Finally, a chance to right the wrongs of a seven decade long rugby injustice for former All Black Ben Couch's great grandson.

Christchurch Boys High First XV player Brigham Riwai-Couch headed to South Africa yesterday for the inaugural world schools tournament - something his great grandfather was denied due to apartheid.

"I'm very proud and very emotional to be a part of that," the 17-year-old said.

"I think it will restore a lot of honour and pride to the family to know I'm righting a wrong that was done to him."

Riwai-Couch's great grandfather was one of three Maori players left out of the 1949 Tour to South Africa because of apartheid.

Now, 69 years later, Riwai-Couch will not only play in South Africa, but lead the haka as a tribute to him.

"I've heard alot about my grandpop - I know that he could kick off both feet. He was a very skilled man.

"And he was well known for his honesty and integrity as a human."

Brigham's rugby mentor Pat Harding knew Couch when he was rejected for the tour.

"[He was] bitterly disappointed like most Maori players [to miss] the opportunity of a lifetime, to experience another culture, another way of life," he said.

Harding says the seven match All Black would be very proud of what his great grandson's about to do.

"Proud moment for the family, a great moment for all those who know Brigham."

Riwai-Couch will present an All Black tie to the school that's hosting them - a gesture he says will help mend the injustice his great grandfather suffered.

"[It's] just to show how appreciative I am of being able to go there and right a wrong that was done to my koro.

"I have a lot of live up to - I want to follow his footsteps."

This tour is certainly a very good place to start.

Christchurch Boys’ High School student Brigham Rewai-Couch, 17, is on his way to South Africa, where his great grandfather was denied entry because of the apartheid in 1949. Source: 1 NEWS

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