Former All Black captain Andy Leslie was yesterday elected president of the New Zealand Rugby Union.
Leslie succeeded John Graham at the union's annual meeting at its Wellington headquarters. Now aged 62, Leslie played 10 tests from 1976 to 1978.
After his playing career, Leslie coached Wellington and Irish club Garryowen. He was president of the Wellington Rugby Union from 2003-04 before becoming NZRU vice-president in 2005. Former All Black manager John Sturgeon was elected vice-president ahead of Kevin Laidlaw. All Black great Colin Meads was made a life member. Meads, 70, played a record 133 matches for New Zealand, including 55 tests, from 1957 to 1971. He captained the All Blacks 11 times, including four times in test matches.
Meads later coached the King Country provincial team, for which he played most of his 361 first-class games, and was an All Black selector and manager. He served on the New Zealand Rugby Union council from 1992 to 1996.
Meads was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 1997 and in 1999 was voted New Zealand Player of the Century.
Sir Wilson Whineray was re-elected as patron for another three years. Graham Mourie and Mark Peters were re-elected unopposed to NZRU board. Former Bell Gully chairman and senior partner Bill Thurston was appointed as the independent member of the board. He replaces John Lindsay, who has retired.
Wellington lawyer Stephen Ward was appointed to the union's appeal council, replacing Justice Bill Wilson, who has been appointed as a judge to the Court of Appeal. Ward joins Peter Burke, Rob Fisher and John Pringle.
Despite the $4.8 million loss for 2006 announced in February (2005: $23.7 million profit), the union said it was in a strong financial position with reserves of $77 million.