Rugby great Fergie McCormick is in a serious condition in hospital.
Friends of the 78-year-old former All Blacks and Canterbury fullback have told the Selwyn Times his condition is serious but he is remaining upbeat.
McCormick, who lives in Springston, has throat cancer. He was admitted to Christchurch Hospital last Tuesday.
McCormick played 16 matches for the All Blacks and holds the record for the most games for Canterbury at 222. McCormick first played representative rugby for Canterbury in 1958 against Wellington. The following year he played 12 matches for Canterbury including the famous 20–14 victory over the touring British and Irish Lions.
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McCormick was also part of the infamous 'Battle of Lancaster Park' in 1971 against the Lions which is best remembered for broken bones and blood rather than the 6-8 score line in favour of the Lions.
After beginning his career for Canterbury at first-five he made the eventual switch to fullback where he is best remembered for his play.
In 1965 he was selected for his first All Blacks test against South Africa. He was next selected for the All Blacks in 1967 for their tour of Canada, Great Britain and France. He was a regular starter for the All Blacks and toured with them to South Africa in 1970. His final appearance for the All Blacks was against the Lions in 1971.
In his 18-year Canterbury career McCormick scored a record 1297 points for Canterbury.
The McCormick family was unwilling to comment yesterday.