Rugby: Henry regrets letting Lochore exit without Cup

Re-appointed All Blacks coach Graham Henry today expressed regret the team had been unable to farewell selector and successful former coach, Sir Brian Lochore, with the rugby World Cup.

The former All Blacks captain, coach and manager had served as a selector for the last four years but announced this week that he has stepped down to spend more time farming and with family.

Sir Brian, 67, who coached New Zealand to their only World Cup title in 1987, said on Tuesday he was never likely to go on any further in his role after this year's edition.

"I was there to assist them, having a bit of World Cup experience ...

"It's an appropriate time to end my involvement."

Henry said in a statement: " His wisdom and mentorship has been huge for the coaches and players.

"We are very grateful to Sir Brian. He represents a lot of the All Blacks' values and tradition and we wish we could have delivered a World Cup to finish his time with the team."

New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Jock Hobbs said Sir Brian had made an enormous contribution to New Zealand rugby over nearly 50 years.

Speaking after a meeting of former All Blacks captains in Auckland, which Sir Brian attended, Hobbs added: "He is a humble man who doesn't care for the spotlight, but it is appropriate that we acknowledge his outstanding service to the game."

Sir Brian first played representative rugby for Wairarapa-Bush in 1959 and made his All Blacks debut at No 8 in 1963.

He captained the All Blacks from 1966 until retirement in 1970 and famously returned for one test in 1971 to help out an injury-struck side.

In all, he played 68 games for New Zealand at lock and No 8 and was captain 46 times.

He later coached Wairarapa-Bush to first division status and was All Blacks coach from 1985 to 1987, winning the inaugural World Cup.

He was also All Blacks campaign manager at the 1995 World Cup.

- NZPA

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