Richard 'Red' Conway – who famously had a finger amputated so he could tour with the All Blacks – has died.
Conway – a legend of Otago and Bay of Plenty rugby – took the drastic step of having a badly broken finger chopped off so he could go on the All Blacks 1960 tour of South Africa.
Conway died in Whakatāne on Wednesday, aged 87.
His death notice said he "passed away peacefully" with "loving family at his side".
Posting about his death on his Rugby Remembered Facebook page, legendary New Zealand sports journalist Ron Palenski wrote: "In the summers, he was a softball catcher and one of the occupational hazards of the position is getting the ball in the hand that doesn't have a glove.
"The third finger of his right hand was sprained and then broken by balls which whacked into it. The break mended but the finger had a permanent kink and a surgeon told Conway that if he continued to play football, it would break again.
"With the prospect of the tour of South Africa in 1960, Conway decided to get the digit lopped off. The deed was done between the final trial and the naming of the team.
"He recalled years later: 'I still could have gone to South Africa with the finger but if it had broken again I would have had to go through the whole process again and miss too much footy. So I reckoned getting it taken off was the best option'."
Conway played 25 matches for the All Blacks between 1959-65, including 10 tests.
A loose forward, Conway made his All Black debut in the 1959 test series against the touring British & Irish Lions.
The following year he went on the 1960 tour, playing his first match in the black jersey since the finger amputation during the brief Australian leg on the way to South Africa.
His international rugby career ended on the 1965 tour to South Africa.