It's not often tough former All Blacks admit to breaking down and crying ... but Bill Davis does.
"I'm not afraid to tell you I did. I couldn't believe it - it was just brilliant," he said.
Being told he was among the latest three inductees into Sport Hawke's Bay's Unison Hall of Fame. Davis, former New Zealand cricketer Mike Shrimpton and New Zealand boxing great the late Barry "Bomber" Brown will be honoured on March 31 at the Hawke's Bay Sportsperson of the Year function.
"Look at the names I'm joining; it's a great honour," said Davis, 63, referring to his former Magpies and All Black teammates Ian MacRae and the late Kel Tremain and the late George Nepia and Maurice Brownlie who are the other former All Blacks already in the Hall of Fame.
"I just hope I can get some cover here for me at work ... it means I'll miss two of our busiest days of the week. I'm confident I can," said Davis who has run Bill Davis Outdoor Sportsworld in Rotorua for the past 20 years.
The former centre who played 53 games including 11 tests and scored 72 points for the All Blacks from 1963-70 enjoys his trips back to the Bay to catch up with former teammates. Last month he returned to Napier to catch up with Danny Hearn, a player who was left paralysed after he attempted to tackle MacRae. Hearn was visiting MacRae on a trip from the United Kingdom.
Davis avoids the limelight as much as possible these days and is quick to point out: "I played for a team and was just one of the kinks in the cog. I was only as good as the other players who gave me the ball and I was lucky to have some pace," said Davis who is still rated as one of the fastest players to pull on a Magpies jersey.
"Scoring the try which won us the Ranfurly Shield up in Waikato was quite amazing," he said referring to the Bay's 6-0 win against Waikato in 1966, the start of a three-year Ranfurly Shield tenure.
Davis played 108 first class games for the Magpies from 1961-71 and scored 168 points.
Like so many of the Magpies from that era Davis is full of praise for the training methods of former national sprint champion Bryan Wilson.
"I'm a big fan of Bryan. It didn't take him long to realise if I wasn't running at full puff. And if I wasn't he would take me out to Meeanee Speedway, correct my style and then send me running across the cinders to make sure I was. "I'll always be Black and White. Whenever the Magpies are playing Bay of Plenty I fill the shop with Black and White streamers ... I cop a bit of flak but it's all good fun," he laughed.
"I can't wait to see the Magpies start their Air New Zealand Cup premier division campaign. The Magpies are back in the big time where they belong," Davis said.
Once his international rugby career ended the Taradale club rugby and softball player played international softball including two World Series from 1972-76 for New Zealand.
"Playing for the New Zealand softball side was a bit different from the All Blacks. Before we went away on softball trips we had to sell heaps of raffles but with the All Blacks everything was covered," he recalled.
Davis played in the 1976 Lower Hutt-hosted World Series which ended in the United States, Canada and New Zealand sharing title honours because of wet weather. The outfielder played in the longest match at a World Series - a 20 inning four hour and two minute tussle which saw the United States beat New Zealand 1-0.
The Hastings Boys' High School product played Evergreens softball until 2003 and since then has played Evergreens cricket every Saturday morning in the summer. His cricket team has had two trips to Australia and one to South Africa since he has been involved.
Needless to say Davis will have a few old and not so old sporting tales to tell his former Magpies teammates at the March 31 function - should he manage to find a willing substitute to cover him at work.