His birth certificate spells his surname McDowall but for his entire All Black career he played as Steve McDowell. The mix up occurred apparently because his nomadic father altered the spelling on his adopted son's records before he took off for good.

McDowall was a gym junkie where he developed his power and explosive style while national selection for his first love, judo, gave him a variety of techniques to disrupt mauls and turn over possession.

"I was selected for the Moscow Olympics team, but that was the year of the US-boycott, so unfortunately I didn't get to compete," he said. "The gym was a great place to hang out but the down side was that training made me tired, which affected my schoolwork.
It's something I'm quite conscious about with my own kids."

McDowall came from the same Rotorua rugby nursery as Wayne Shelford and was married to Shelford's sister.


On the rugby field, McDowall scuttled around the park with some speed and was able to bounce unsuspecting tacklers out of his way with his low-slung style.

He was part of the '87 new run and gun work with the All Blacks, the man with the white headband in the No 1 jersey who was one of the many individual stars in the national galaxy.

He and Fitzpatrick were an explosive pair for their province and their nation, players who were extra-dangerous when riled. McDowall's impact tailed away at the second World Cup and he played the last of his 46 tests a year later.

Remarkably, six years on from that McDowall returned from overseas to play another three games for Auckland.

He spent four years with Romania as a high performance trainer and then the assistant coach at the last World Cup before moving his family back to New Zealand.

Date of birth: 27 August 1961
Position: Loosehead prop
Matches: 81
Tests: 46
Test debut: 6 October 1985 v Argentina, Buenos Aires
Final test: 6 June 1992 v Ireland, Wellington
Provinces: Auckland, Bay of Plenty
Test tries: 3
Test points: 12