All Blacks great Alex 'Grizz' Wyllie has today picked through the charred remains of his famous North Canterbury rugby clubrooms which burned down overnight and lamented the loss of decades of "irreplaceable" rugby memorabilia.

The midnight blaze has gutted Glenmark Rugby Club's historic 91-year-old wooden clubrooms at Omihi Domain.

The walls of the clubrooms - due to host the club's annual end-of-season prizegiving and ball tomorrow night - were lined with trophies, silverware, team photos and All Blacks jerseys.

It also featured an honours board boasting the names of its 20 Canterbury representatives, as well as 10 All Blacks, including Alex 'Grizz' Wyllie, Graeme Higginson, Andy Jefferd, Robbie Deans, Bruce Deans, Craig Green, Richard Loe, Andy Earl, Todd Blackadder, and Scott Hamilton.


They are all now feared to be lost, including one of Robbie Deans' All Blacks jerseys and a treasured Barbarians strip.

Club legend Wyllie was delivered the bad news at 6am.

He drove straight up to the domain where he carved his fearsome playing reputation.

"It's not a very pleasant look at all. All those jerseys, one-offs, they are gone," he said.

Thankfully, he said, the club had earlier taken copies of most of the team photos.

Wyllie had been considering donating some of his jerseys to the clubrooms.

Now, he says he will "wait and see what comes out of it all".

The district hall, built by the local community in 1924 in memory of those who fell in the First World War, was leased to the rugby club for a nominal rent.


Club stalwart Jack Reid, involved with the yellow-and-blue hoops since 1963, described the fire as a "fearful loss".

"It had a lot of gear and irreplaceable memorabilia in there - hundreds of photos of teams gone by, and former All Blacks, which we have had a few of," said the former club president.

The wooden structure would've "gone like smoke" once it caught fire, Mr Reid believed.

Club secretary Hamish Black said it was a huge blow.

Wyllie agreed.

"I'm not sure if there's been births there, but there's certainly been 21sts, weddings, funerals, and plenty of celebrations from rugby days," he said.

"When something like this happens, you realise what it's all about.

"The district got together to build it all those years ago and I am sure it will happen again."

Emergency services were called to the fire just after midnight.

Fire crews arrived to find the building completely consumed by flames.

They battled the blaze for almost four hours.

The investigation into its cause is ongoing.