Former All Black forward Gary Seear has died.

Seear, who was 65, died early today in Christchurch after a battle with illness.

Seear, a loose forward and occasionally a lock, played 116 games for Otago and 34 games for the All Blacks, including 12 tests.

Seear made his debut for Otago in 1971 and first played for the All Blacks in 1976.

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He famously kicked a 45m penalty goal against France in Paris in 1977, becoming a rare All Blacks forward to nail a penalty goal.

Seear, occasionally took penalties for Otago, told the Otago Daily Times in 2009 that the penalty was too far away for All Black fullback Brian McKechnie, so he decided to "have a crack".

"I'd always been having kicks at practice and trainings so I thought I'd have a go," Seear said.

It was a busy match for Seear, who was eye-gouged by a French player, giving him the penalty he nailed as part of a 15-3 win.