All Black legends are in shock at the news of Norm Berryman's death, as they still come to terms with the tragic passing of another former team mate Jerry Collins.
Justin Marshall told the Herald Berryman played a huge part in the creation of the Crusaders as a major rugby force, but he believed the powerful Northlander's true potential was never properly revealed. Christian Cullen said Berryman "always had a smile on his face and put a smile on everyone else's."
Both were involved in Berryman's only test appearance, when he replaced Eroni Clarke during the one point loss to the Springboks at Durban in 1998. Marshall was also a team mate at the Crusaders.
Marshall said: "This news gets you in the pit of the stomach. It makes me so sad about these great players. You lose contact and don't know what is happening in their lives, and then you hear this. You assume that you will catch up one day and find out what they have been up to."
Marshall said Berryman had played a pivotal part in allowing the heavily structured Crusaders to add an attacking element to their game in the late 1990s.
"In a way he was a player with an amateur approach who was good enough to be a professional," said Marshall.
"That's not to say he didn't train hard enough... he had this relaxed attitude whereas I was the exact opposite, really wound up. He was never one to really talk about the game and tactics.
"I roomed with him once in Cape Town and I remember he went out and had a beer with friends, and I mean just one beer, came home about midnight, and was man-of-the-match the next day.
"At the Crusaders, we were very structured and defence orientated and he definitely wasn't that. He would play off the cuff and he enabled us to use our defence to swing on to attack. It was vital. And the crowd loved him."
Marshall recalled then All Black coach John Hart revealing - in answer to a media question - that Berryman was not in the test frame. Berryman responded by saying that at least the All Black coach was talking about him.
"That was typical of his attitude," said Marshall.
"I just remember that he was always smiling, always having fun. He didn't have a care in the world. We all have stress, we all feel it at times, but I never saw him stressed in any way.
"He was an enigma - I have always thought that Norm Berryman should have been more, could have been more. There was an abundance of talent at that time. It just didn't happen to go his way."
Cullen had only just heard the news and was stunned.
"I'm struggling to know what to say," said Cullen
"Sitting at Jerry Collins' funeral, I was thinking 'this can't be happening'. You think they will be there forever.
"Norm loved his rugby, loved to have fun, and that came across in the way he played. He had a massive following, at Northland and the Crusaders. He was larger than life.
"When he went to the Crusaders, he put flair into a team that was pretty structured at the time. He played as a free spirit and you never really knew what he was going to do and that is what people loved about him."
Berryman demolished the Sharks in Durban and Christchurch late in the 1998 season, pivotal moments which led to the first title and turned the Crusaders into Super Rugby heavyweights.
A devoted Crusaders fan told the Herald : " Norm was a genius rugby player and proper character - he was an inspirational x-factor for the Crusaders. His 'lift the roof' gesture after scoring against Sharks in a semifinal (I think) was typical of the joyfulness he brought to the game."