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Sidney Milton Going: Mormon Rugby Player

Dubbed Super Sid by his fans, Sidney Going, a Mormon, is a world renowned rugby player.

Sidney Milton Going is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints who comes from humble beginnings. He was born on 19 August 1943 in Kawakawa, a small town in the Northland Region of northern New Zealand, where the economy is based on farming. According to the 2001 census the population of the town was 1401. By the time of the 2006 census the population had dropped to 1347. Kawakawa developed as a service town in 1861 when coal was found in the area, but the coal mining industry no longer exists there. The town is known as “Train town”, because the Bay of Islands Vintage railway runs down the middle of its main street on its way to Opua, a locality in the Bay of Islands, in the sub-tropical Northland Region of New Zealand.

Mormon Rugby Player Sidney MiltonSid is a former New Zealand rugby union footballer. Dubbed Super Sid by his fans, he played 86 matches, including 57 games (5 as captain) and 29 test matches for the All Blacks between 1967 and 1977, and scored a total of 164 points. A test match in rugby union is a match recognized as being a full international match by at least one of the participating teams’ governing bodies. It is an unofficial but widely used term in the sport. His first game with the All Blacks was on 19 August 1967 in a match against Australia at Wellington. His last test match was on 9 July 1977 in a match against the British and Irish Lions at Christchurch. His team number was 655.

Sid is also a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), an order of chivalry (a society and fellowship of knights that have been created by European monarchs in imitation of the military orders of the Crusades) established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. He received the honor in 1978 for his contributions to rugby.

He was educated at Maromaku Primary School, Northland College and Church College of New Zealand, a private secondary school in Temple View, Hamilton, New Zealand, that was operated by the Church Educational System (CES) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly referred to as the Mormon Church). The school was closed at the end of the 2009 school year. In 1962, at the age of 19, he served as a missionary in Canada for the Church. He has also served as Bishop and as a member of the Stake Presidency. He has also served as a missionary in Campbell town, South Sydney, Australia with his wife Colleen for The Church.

During the Priesthood Session of the April 2011 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in a talk on missionary service titled Preparing the World for the Second Coming, made the following comments about Sidney Going’s decision to put aside a chance to play for the most celebrated rugby team of all time, the national All Blacks rugby team, and serve a full-time two year mission for the Church:

In 1961, at age 18 and holding the Aaronic Priesthood, Sidney Going was becoming a star in New Zealand rugby. Because of his remarkable abilities, many thought he would be chosen the very next year for the national All Blacks rugby team.

At age 19, in this critical moment of his ascending rugby career, Sid declared that he would forgo rugby to serve a mission. Some called him crazy. Others called him foolish. They protested that his opportunity in rugby might never come again.

For Sid it was not what he was leaving behind—it was the opportunity and responsibility ahead. He had a priesthood duty to offer two years of his life to declare the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. Nothing—not even a chance to play on the national team, with all the acclaim it would bring—would deter him from that duty.

Elder Andersen continued:

You’re probably wondering what happened to Sid Going following his mission. Most important: an eternal marriage to his sweetheart, Colleen; five noble children; and a generation of grandchildren. He has lived his life trusting in his Father in Heaven, keeping the commandments, and serving others.

And rugby? After his mission Sid Going became one of the greatest halfbacks in All Blacks history, playing for 11 seasons and serving for many years as captain of the team.

How good was Sid Going? He was so good that training and game schedules were changed because he would not play on Sunday. Sid was so good the Queen of England acknowledged his contribution to rugby. He was so good a book was written about him titled Super Sid.

Sid has been a farmer for all of his life. Church, family, community and sport playing are all very important parts of his life. Although he has traveled to many parts of the world playing rugby, Northland will always be where his heart is. He has served his community well with many years on school boards of trustees, the Maromaku Domain Board, the Northland Rugby Union Board and the Mid-Northern Rugby Club Committee. After retiring from playing rugby in 1978, he continued to be involved with the game by coaching Northland secondary school teams from 1988 to 1992, and was selector-coach of the provincial side from 1993 to 1996. While playing for the All Blacks national rugby team he also played alongside his brothers Ken and Brian who were his fellow teammates.

Sidney Milton Going is happily married and he and his wife have five children (one now deceased) and six grandchildren. In 1978, a book was written about him titled SUPER SID – The Story of a Great All Black by Bob Howitt. Fellow All Black Grant Batty said of him in 1977, “The greatest match winner Rugby has known, Sid Going, M.B.E. halfback extraordinary. . . . He was and still is the greatest Rugby player in the world. ” (Famous Mormons in Rugby; Sid Going; http://famousmormons.net/rugby.html.)

 

 

Additional Resources:

Sid Going – New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team

Basic Mormon Beliefs and Real Mormons

Learn More About Mormon Missionaries