Mark 'Bull' Allen won eight caps at prop spread over four years and earned the reputation of being a 'super sub' or in modern terms 'an impact player'. When the NPC turned 30 in 2005, Bull was named fifth in their lineup of 'top 10 provincial icons' over that time.
There is no doubt that Bull made some great cameo appearances, but he was probably unlucky to have played in an era when New Zealand had the best front row in the world - Fitzpatrick, Dowd and Brown.
Distinctive for his shaved head, Mark enjoyed a cult following amongst the New Zealand fans and his appearances were always eagerly awaited.
His first test was in 1993 against Western Samoa, with his next appearance three years later against Scotland in Auckland, a game which New Zealand won 36-12. He played in both tests against Argentina in the same year, and then in 1997 contributed to New Zealand's retention of the Tri-Nations trophy with substitute appearances against South Africa and Australia. It was in his only start against England later that year that he made one of his most telling contributions when his bullocking run set up a try for Walter Little. The game ended up 26-26, and it proved to be the final time that Mark pulled on the famous black shirt.
Bull Allen now commentates and appears on television shows such as Game of Two Halves and is an entertaining speaker and presenter.
- Rugby Union & League