For he was part of the sorely depleted and grossly inexperienced "Baby Blacks" side which against all predictions scored an upset win over France in the one-off international in 1986 at Lancaster Park. As were nearly all of the players in that match apart from John Kirwan and David Kirk, Macpherson was only involved because New Zealand's leading players had all been banned for two internationals for having taken part in the Cavaliers' tour of South Africa.
Lured to Otago the next year by Laurie Mains, he then became a stalwart of the southern province. His potential was quickly discerned and in 1985 he made the South Island side and was in the New Zealand Emerging Players squad for five matches on an internal tour.Macpherson had the first of his four All Black trials in 1986 before becoming one of the historic "Baby Blacks." Though never again an All Black he had trials in each of the 1986-87 seasons and another in 1992. He also had three matches for South Zone (effectively a South Island selection) in the Gergoe Nepia Trophy matches of 1988 and 1989.
Between 1985 and 1993 Macpherson played 137 matches for Otago, forming a reliable and successful locking partnership with Richard Knight in over 100 of those matches. They were the basis of the Otago tight five when the union won the NPC first division competition in 1991 and appeared for the union against touring sides like the 1988 Welsh and the 1990 Wallabies.
His two brothers, Ken (1979,80,82,84) and Willie (1984,85) played for Poverty Bay.