John Kirwan made his test debut as a teenager and was in his pomp as a wing of fearsome size and pace during the first World Cup.
His 80m run past seven flailing Italian defenders was the stellar try of the All Blacks opening triumph in a tournament he finished with another special touchdown to convert a break from skipper Davoid Kirk and support from Wayne Shelford in the final against France.
"The only thing I remember is I held my breath and I was seeing stars at the end of it," Kirwan said of his weaving run to stun Italy. "It was good fun, I felt great during it."
To be still known for that try was one of his great rugby memories and a special recollection from the opening RWC tournament.
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In those days rugby was still amateur and the All Blacks, without the size of many of the other nations, decided they would play an athletic 15-man game. Extraordinary fitness levels were essential and after the gym sessions, Kirwan used to undertake extra running and sprint training during summer on One Tree Hill.
The All Blacks were drawn to play Italy in their first game at Eden Park and had the game won by halftime. Not long after they fielded a kick in their own 22 and when Kirk passed to Grant Fox, Kirwan called for the ball. He bolted, shoulders rolling and legs churning as he swept past several startled Italians and others who lacked pace. On and on he weaved past the ineffective defence and then cantered to a genteel touchdown.
It was a highlight in a glowing second half of All Black rugby which ignited the tournament and delivered massive warning signs to the rest of the teams. The buzz after the All Blacks 70-6 victory swept the country as Kirwan continued his rampaging running against Fiji, the Pumas and the Welsh.
He scored six tries in the tournament to continue the reputation which had him annointed as Saint John before he began his tournament of terror against Italy, a nation he would later coach against the All Blacks at the 2003 World Cup.