It is an oft-used phrase, 'never judge a book by its cover', but it is one that should never be forgotten.
One of my many favourite quotes from Tolkien is in reference to Strider. When assessing whether Strider should be trusted, Bilbo says that if he were an enemy he would "seem fairer and feel fouler". I have always loved that line and think it has been proven to be a good lesson throughout my adult life. More often than not the understated and modest person has a great deal more to be proud of than the loud and boastful one.
And so in praise of that very principle, of not judging a book by its cover, I am pleased to list the achievements of the All Blacks Hooker Anton Oliver
The standard assumption about front rowers are that they are uncivilized, basic people whose interests rarely exceed the desire to eat and drink.
On first inspection, Anton Oliver does not appear to provide any evidence to the contrary of this popular stereotype. You could, in fact, be forgiven for mistaking him as a cast member from the Orcs storming Helms Deep. However, a quick glance at his achievements and you quickly realize how wrong you can be about people.
He received 59 caps for New Zealand. He attended Oxford University, where he played in the Varsity Match at Twickenham against Cambridge, earning himself a Blue, winning the game and putting to an end Oxford's 4 year losing streak. Not satisfied with only attending Oxford University, he also earned an Executive MBA from Cambridge University. On top of that, he also toured with the NZ Symphony Orchestra.
A deeply impressive list of achievements and a good reminder to never judge a book by its cover.