All Black great Kevin Skinner dies

All Black Kevin Skinner in 1953.  File photo / NZ Herald
All Black Kevin Skinner in 1953. File photo / NZ Herald

Kevin Skinner, the All Black prop and heavyweight boxer, has died. He was 86.

Skinner made his name for Otago and was selected for the 1949 All Black tour of South Africa as a 21-year-old.

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He was labelled one of the side's successes, making up a hard-as-nails front row alongside Johnny Simpson and hooker Has Catley.

Read Wynne Gray's 100 Greatest All Blacks profile of Kevin Skinner here

A grocer, Skinner retired at the end of the 1954 season, feeling the time away for representative rugby was harming his business.

He moved to Waiuku in 1956, playing for Counties. That year South Africa toured and after All Black props Mark Irwin and Frank McAtamney were injured, Skinner was brought back into the All Blacks for the final two tests.

It has long been told that Skinner was selected to "sort out" the South African props, though some believe the amount of rough play he was involved in have been greatly exaggerated.

Skinner was New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion in 1947.

- NZ Herald

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