Former Canterbury No 8 Hugh Burry, whose All Blacks career was inhibited by his success in medicine, passed away aged 82 in Christchurch yesterday.
Burry played 11 games for the All Blacks in the 1960 tour of South Africa but was better known as one of New Zealand's first proponents of sports medicine.
"He was a very good friend,'' said former All Blacks captain DJ Graham. "He was a very good doctor so his medical skills, in those days, were very useful to team members like me.''
Burry's studies to become a medical doctor prevented him from gaining a representative foothold until late in his career, but he demonstrated during the South African tour he was unlucky to have featured so sporadically in the black jersey. A groin injury in the Republic prevented him from playing any tests but Burry's eight tries in his 11 appearances showed glimpses of his quality.
"As a player, he was very special indeed,'' Graham said. "Probably the key thing about him was that he had an intellectual approach to the game. He was tactically astute and therefore had great leadership qualities.''
Following his playing career, Burry spent time in the United Kingdom advancing his medical career before returning to New Zealand and enjoying a lengthy spell as chairman of the New Zealand union's medical advisory committee.
He is survived by wife Barbara and sons Mark, Andrew, and Michael.