Graham Mourie left two massive footprints in All Black history. He captained the first Grand Slam tour of Britain and Ireland in 1978, and he refused to play against the 1981 Springboks.
No captain has been more respected. When players still had real jobs, farmers like Brian Lochore made great All Black captains. So did academics like Wilson Whineray.
Mourie was both. Brought up on a dairy farm inland from Opunake in Taranaki, his philosophies were also shaped by time as a student at Victoria University in Wellington.
"This guy's different," his team-mate Stu Wilson told me in 1977 when Mourie was appointed to lead the All Blacks. "He doesn't say much, but boy, when he does, you really want to listen."
Mourie was an openside flanker, who would appear at the right place at the right time in a game so often it was clear that he had an innate, massive, rugby intelligence. On the field he was more the rapier than a bludgeon, but nobody ever doubted his toughness. Changing shed photographs by the great cameraman Peter Bush often recorded an unflinching Mourie having his eyebrows being sewn up without the benefit of a local anaesthetic.
As a leader he was ahead of his time, as he formed, with his first All Black coach, Jack Gleeson, an inclusive, thoughtful style of team management that wouldn't feel unusual in the All Blacks of today.
Mourie's attitude to leadership in the All Blacks was shaped by a conversation in 1976 with a Taranaki team-mate, Ian "Legs" Eliason.
"We were in a hotel in Hamilton, and Taranaki had just beaten Waikato to go back into the first division. The All Black team was named on tv to go to Argentina, and nobody gave you any warning in those days. I was a bit surprised to see the 'C' (for captain) after my name.
"I had a bit of a chat later on with Legs, and he said, 'Make sure it's not like it was when I was there.' Eliason had toured Britain and France in the 1972-73 All Blacks. He told Mourie, "It should have been the best time of my life but I hated it." The attitude of two or three of the senior players towards the juniors, like Eliason, had been largely contemptuous.
By the time the All Blacks headed to Britain and Ireland for the '78 Grand Slam triumph Gleeson and Mourie had changed the culture.
"We were by no means the best, most talented, group of All Black players to ever tour," Mourie says now. "But it was one of the closest team in terms of attitude, of guys getting on, and looking after each other. The whole approach was making sure that every player was as important as the best players in the team.
"We discussed building good relationships, and one of the things we promoted was not getting pissed after every game. There were some pretty terrible stories about what had happened on past tours. We introduced orange juice and milk at team sessions. Nobody had to drink if they didn't want to."
They decided to mentally divide the 18 match, three month tour into three mini-tours, to celebrate after the first eight games, the next eight, and then the last two.
During the first eight they beat Ireland 10-6 and Wales 13-12, when Brian McKechnie coolly kicked a penalty after Andy Haden and Frank Oliver controversially plunged out of a lineout, claiming obstruction. (Fifteen years later I asked Oliver if his marker, Geoff Wheel, had actually shoved him hard enough to push him out of the lineout. "He was a strong bugger," said Oliver. Then he laughed. "That's all I'm saying.").
During the next eight matches they beat England 16-6 and Scotland 18-9. And the two game mini-tour ended with an 18-16 victory over the Barbarians in Cardiff.
When Mourie decided to not play against an apartheid-era South African team in 1981, his decision making was as logical and calculated as his leadership on the field.
"There were three key issues for me. I was against apartheid, and the argument that you should keep politics out of sport didn't apply, because politics had been introduced to sport by the South African government when they decided that if you were black you couldn't play for South Africa.
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"Secondly, was it going to be good for New Zealand? No, it wasn't, because it was very obvious massive civil disruption was going to happen if they did come, and it did.
"Thirdly, was it going to be good for rugby? In my mind it wasn't going to be good, and we saw, for example, teachers withdraw from coaching rugby. So the tour did considerable damage to the game.
"My internal debate then was, what responsibility do you have when you're given a leadership role? Leadership to me was that you do what's right for the people you're supposed to be leading, so that's why I didn't play."
He said this week that at the time two or three other players told him privately they would have liked to have taken the same stand, but were concerned they'd never be selected again.
As it happened, while Mourie says he thinks some in his own family may have "thought I was nuts" for his decision, there was actually no damage to his future rugby career.
He was selected again as captain when the Wallabies toured in 1982, his All Black career ending with the flourish of a 33-18 win over a strong Australian team captained by Mark Ella at Eden Park.
Mourie would go on to work with the West Nelly group organising the first World Cup in 1987, to coach as professional with the Hurricanes, and in 2003 was voted onto the board of the New Zealand Rugby Union, where he served for over a decade.
He maintains a connection with country life through ownership of a farm in Taranaki, and as a director of a company he helped found called Southern Pastures, which works with investments from Swedish and German pension funds in New Zealand farming, and the much-admired Lewis Road Creamery.
Mourie is now 67, and he and his partner Debbie have lived in Wellington for the last 20 years. They have four adult children, Kohia, Rewa, and twins, Tai and Moana. "They have no Maori heritage, but when we came to choosing names we decided that as we live in New Zealand we would choose Maori names, and they're all very happy and proud of them."