Stan Hill, or Tiny as he was always known in rugby circles, was a player so hard-nosed, that on numerous occasions Colin Meads would say he was the only man he ever feared on the field.
Hill, who died this week at 92 , was a military man whose rugby career boomed in the 1950s, when he came to Canterbury after growing up in Taranaki, and then serving with the occupation forces in Japan after World War II.
In Canterbury, he was based with the 11th Coast Regiment at Godley Head. His training regime when he started playing for the Christchurch club was rigorous.
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"I'd get a ride into the city with the leave truck, and train with Christchurch at Hagley Park. That would be followed by a meal at the pie cart, and then I'd take the tram car to Sumner, get off, and run over the hills to Godley Head," Hill famously said.
"It was eight miles by road, so probably about five miles over the top."
How tough was Hill on the field?
Let me quote a story I heard Meads tell at several rugby clubs over the years.
In 1957 Meads was a brand-new All Black, playing as a loose forward in a test against Australia in Sydney.
Chasing a long kick he found himself confronting the strapping Aussie fullback, Terry Curley. Meads grabs Curley in a ball-and-all tackle. From behind he hears a voice yelling, "Put him down. Put him on the ground".
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Curley is stronger than Meads expects. The two go into a wrestling, staggering dance.
The voice, which Meads realises belongs to Hill, gets louder.
"Put him down!"
Meads wrestles some more.
The parade ground loud voice is almost in his ear. "PUT HIM DOWN!"
Then there's a massive smack in Meads' short ribs. He and Curley crash to the ground. Hill is above them, his face like thunder. He snarls at Meads, "When I say put him down, bloody put him down!"
In the 1950s flankers, as Hill usually was, could follow the ball through the scrum, and then launch themselves at a halfback.
"Tiny was a sight to be seen when he came round the side of a scrum," his Canterbury teammate, All Black hooker Dennis Young once told me.
"His nostrils used to flare, and he looked like an American Indian on the warpath. He put the fear of God into a large number of halfbacks."
In 1960 Kel Tremain, fresh from a starring role with 1960 All Blacks in South Africa, found himself marking Hill in the lineouts, playing for Auckland in a Ranfurly Shield defence against Canterbury.
Auckland and later All Black flanker Waka Nathan told the story 40 years later: "I was right behind Kel when he was leaning on Tiny Hill. I thought, 'You don't do that. Not to Tiny Hill'.
"I heard Tiny say, 'Watch out son'.
Kel said, 'Have a go Granddad!'
"The next minute Bunny [Tremain's nickname] is lying out on the deck and out came the stretcher, and off he went. Jeepers. We didn't laugh at the time. But boy, we have since. What a silly thing to say to Tiny Hill."
Off the field, as the years rolled on, Hill became a genial, extremely approachable figure, even if his army background was always near the surface.
I was far from the only person who, before Hill cheerfully offered his time for a friendly chat, was admonished to "get a haircut, and think about shining those shoes".
My last vivid memory of him was at the 2004 dinner celebrating 125 years of Canterbury Rugby.
Still chiselled and imposing, knee injuries from his playing days meant Tiny by then walked carefully and slowly.
When he was called on to speak he reached the stage with some difficulty.
"They told me I had only five minutes to speak," he said. "That's not much, considering it's taken me two bloody minutes just to get up here."