All Black, captain, selector, coach, farmer, community stalwart and good man, Sir Brian Lochore has died.
Lochore, All Black #637, represented New Zealand in the black jersey on 68 occasions, including 25 Tests. He was the All Blacks Captain in 1966 and went on to lead the team in 18 Tests.
In 1985-87 Lochore become the All Blacks coach, with his crowning achievement winning the 1987 inaugural Rugby World Cup.
He was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to sport and the community and also inducted to the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 1999. On Waitangi Day in 2007, he received the country’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said Sir Brian passed away surrounded by family.
“It is with great sadness and grief that we announce that Sir Brian succumbed to his battle with cancer, earlier today. We have lost a genuine legend of our country, an unwavering figure on the field, and a highly respected figure off it. His family has lost a devoted husband, father and grandfather and for many of us, a great friend.
“It is not over-stating the facts to say that Sir Brian Lochore, was the saviour of New Zealand rugby on several occasions and many of us have lost a great mate. Our hearts go out to Pam and their children.”
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “It’s with great sadness that we have heard that one of New Zealand’s tallest kauri has fallen.
“Sir Brian Lochore is one of of the most respected men in New Zealand, not only in rugby but all facets of New Zealand life, as well as being hugely respected and held in high regard around the world. . .
Lochore’s standing in the community, not only in rugby but also in farming, saw him involved in many committees while he also served a term as chairman of the national sports funding organisation, the Hillary Commission and his contribution to New Zealand across all fields was acknowledged in 1999 when he was knighted and he received the country’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand in 2007. His contribution to New Zealand Rugby was acknowledged when he received the Steinlager Salver for distinguished service in 2003, an award repeated on the international stage when he received the International Rugby Board’s (World Rugby) Vernon Pugh Award for distinguished services in 2006.
He was also a trustee of the New Zealand Rural Games Trust which I chaired for a couple of years.
Working with him was a pleasure and a privilege.
His death leaves a big hole, not least among his family and friends to whom I offer sincere sympathy.