Former Herald rugby writer Wynne Gray on the late Sir Brian Lochore who passed away yesterday.
What a player and what a gentleman. Sir Brian Lochore brought new dimensions to the work of the No 8 with his corner-flagging, aerial work and unstinting physical onslaught.
He was a huge man, big enough to fill in at lock but Lochore was best at the back of the scrum where his leadership qualities enthused legendary coach Fred Allen so much he anointed him as All Black captain ahead of a number of more senior teammates.
His deeds from his test debut in '64 to his '71 farewell were top-class which was saying an awful lot about a pack which had legends like the Meads brothers, Ken Gray, Kel Tremain, Waka Nathan and Co.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Lochore brought a statesmanlike edge to his efforts away from the field. He had time for people and the gift of being able to always move on without giving any hint of bad manners or tedium.
In that over-arching role, Lochore was a masterful choice as the All Blacks campaign manager throughout the World Cup expedition to South Africa in 1995. He was there to schmooze with the IRB delegates and cope with the local rugby authorities.
That was on top of the wisdom he could deliver about his experiences in touring the Republic and the understandings he carried from the All Blacks victorious RWC campaign in 1987.
Lochore was invariably courteous but when he needed to censure you there was no mistake. He did not have to raise his voice yet the tone of his delivery left you in no doubt about his opinion.
This mountain of a man brought humility and commonsense to his daily chores and as Fred Allen observed, the job never changed him. That was key ingredient in Allen's decision.
"Wherever he's gone, Brian Lochore has had that touch of mana."