Eye-gouging, facial herpes, attacks from timber-wielding spectators, food poisoning and then a flour bombing - tighthead prop Gary Knight was a bulls eye for controversy when he played for the All Blacks.

Wrestling was his initial sporting interest and he claimed a bronze medal in the superheavyweight class at the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch in 1974.

He was dabbling in rugby but three years later made his test debut against France in what became some initiation as Gerard Cholley eye gouged him.

In 1981, the prop scored his solitary test try against the Springboks before a protestor-pilot claimed Knight with a flour bomb on the side of the head at Eden Park.


"It hit with a decent wallop," he recalled, "there was probably a pound of flour in it and it knocked me to the ground. I had a headache afterwards."

Knight played test rugby for another five years and when he finished his decade in the frontline he had played 36 tests. It should have been a lot more but commitments to his dairy farm meant he missed a number of tours while his array of extraordinary injuries also clipped his availability.

He, Andy Dalton and John Ashworth were dubbed the Geriatrics after the 1983 visit of the Lions and while the trio bridled at the initial description, they were proud of their exalted status and allowed their collaborative book to use that title.

Date of birth: 26 August 1951
Position: Tighthead prop
Test debut: 11 November 1977 v France at Toulouse
Final test: 6 September 1986 v Australia at Auckland
Matches: 66
Tests: 36
Province: Manawatu
Test tries: 1
Test points: 4