Former All Black with a big personality.
Mark Allen, know as Bull all around New Zealand and overseas, is a rugby player with a difference.
Bull is instantly recognizable wherever he goes. His shaven head is a trademark that has been adopted by other players but still sets “The Bull” apart. Bull has played just one run-on test for the All Blacks, but he is better know to the New Zealand rugby public than many All Blacks who have represented their country in dozens of internationals. Whenever he plays, children swarm after his autograph, and receive if along with his engaging smile. Whether he played at home or abroad the Bull roar erupted as soon as the huge prop makes one of his legendary charges down the field with ball in hand. Bull is also rapidly becoming a television personality in his own right.
Bull has the X factor. In his book ‘The Mark of the Bull,’ John Harvey discovers not only why Bull has become a cult figure, but examines the legend that has grown up around Stratford’s most famous son. He finds a gentle giant who is one of rugby’s most good-natured as well as most dynamic performers. Behind the smiling face he also found a player of huge determination and resolve. He discovered a rugby player who talks intelligently about the modern professional rugby era, who understands the negatives as well as the many positives of the lifestyle it offers.
Even before he began his representative career he had a battle to overcome against asthma and other illnesses. His book is about the story of a rugby icon who is modest enough to call himself Joe Average, despite being the early force behind the Wellington Hurricanes success as the most popular Super 12 Team.
His playing career includes
• A trip with the New Zealand development team in 1990 to Canada with future All Black stars.
• The New Zealand 15 in 1991 & 1992
• The All Blacks 1993 – 98 (27 games in the Black jersey) and captaining the Hurricanes 1996-98
• 110 games in the Amber and Black hoops for his province Taranaki.
In the mid 1990s, Bull Allen reached icon status - perhaps more than any other player of his time. Adored by legions of rugby fans, he managed to connect with people. He was a big man with a big personality - and the crowds loved him. Inevitably, with the success on the field, went a lot of hard living after the final whistle had blown. Allen says they were good times but, ultimately, he did not like who he was: self-centred and selfish is how he describes himself during that period. "Rugby was my religion, everything else, family, everything, came second." He reached a point where something had to change. "I looked in the mirror and didn't like what I saw." When Bull Allen sustained a career-threatening back injury he was forced to reassess his life. Today, Bull Allen is an active member in his local Destiny Church, and every day strives to become a better person, father and husband.
Bull is an open and charismatic speaker and an entertaining MC. Preferring an interactive question and answer format for his speeches, Bull relates hilarious episodes in his rugby career.