A few years back as showers forced many of us to take shelter behind the main stand at Eden Park, Snow White and I shared some space and conversation around the sport, writes Wynne Gray.

Those sorts of insight will not be dispensed any more after Hallard Leo White, a four test All Black and the holder of a record 196 provincial matches for Auckland, died today aged 87.

He was born in Kawakawa but moved to the Northcote club and then the blue and white hoops of Auckland.

White had battled Alzheimers in recent times but in his pomp he was an astute student of the game, a prop who could deliver insights into the frontrow game in language anyone could understand.


It didn't matter whether you played regularly up front or were a lightweight out in the backs. White would explain with language and his genial frame how grips, body alignment and feet placement would affect the outcome of scrums.

White played both sides of the scrum where his strong 1.83m and 98kgs frame, honed by plenty of outdoors work with his transport company, coped with most rivals.

His views were not accepted universally after White ended a lengthy playing stint with his Northcote club and a remarkable career for Auckland which spanned from 1949 to 1963.

However everyone would listen to his concepts.

After four years tuning up his provincial game, White was picked for the All Blacks tour to Britain in 1953 and chosen for three tests against Ireland, England and France.

Back home White continued to be a senior member of the Auckland pack but was only chosen for one more test against the Wallabies in 1955 despite playing in national trials in 1957 and 1959.

White continued to play strongly for his province and was in the side which won the Ranfurly Shield from Southland and then helped Auckland complete a record 25 defences from 1960-63.

Once he packed away his playing kit, White coached Northcote and was an Auckland assistant before he became ARU president from 1988-89 and then NZR president in 1990.