All Blacks great Whineray dies

2012-10-22 07:29
Wilson Whineray (File)

Wellington - New Zealand rugby great Wilson Whineray, who captained the All Blacks 67 times between 1957 and 1965, died in Auckland early on Monday morning. He was 77.

Judged by renowned rugby writer Terry McLean as the greatest of All Blacks captains, Whineray was a mobile prop with the handling skills of a back who played in a much-feared pack alongside Colin Meads, Kel Tremain and Ken Gray.

In total, he played 77 times for the All Blacks, including in 32 Tests - a remarkable tally in the days when only two or three test were played each year. New Zealand lost only four of the 30 Tests played when he was captain.

After retirement from the game in 1966, he studied on a scholarship for an MBA at Harvard University before forging a successful business career. Whineray was knighted in 1998 for "services to sport and business management".

"Today is a very sad day. We have lost one of New Zealand's great heroes and for the rugby community we have lost a much-loved patron and champion of rugby," New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) chairperson Mike Eagle said in a news release.

"Regarded as one of the great All Blacks legends, Sir Wilson also made significant contributions to the community through his work with sport, charities and business."

Whineray made his international debut in 1956 and only a year later, at the age of 23, was made captain, scoring two tries against Australia in his first match as skipper.

"At the time I thought I was a pretty average kind of captain, but as you go on and learn from the experience, the mistakes, you learn from them and how to improve," he once said in an interview with the Times.

"By the time I finished I was a useful captain, largely because there was nothing that could happen on the field that I hadn't had to deal with in an earlier game."

The highlight of his career came when he captained the 1963-4 tour party to Europe, where only a scoreless draw against Scotland denied the All Blacks a Grand Slam.

The trademark move for the tourists became "Willie Away", where Whineray peeled off the lineout and functioned like the scrumhalf he had been as a schoolboy to set up attacks in midfield.

He was the first player from rugby's most successful nation to be inducted into the International Rugby Board's Hall of Fame in 2007.

Whineray's only official biography was entitled "Perfect Gentleman".

Read more on:    rugby


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Most Read


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

UK expert: Boks ‘have KO game’
Ireland hold on to down Italy
As it happened: Ireland 16-9 Italy
All Blacks sympathise with England
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Take a photographical trip down memory lane and remind yourself of how the Springboks fared in their five previous Rugby World Cup campaigns. In addition, pick your all-time Springbok Rugby World Cup Dream Team and you could win R3 000!

Latest blogs

The Springboks open their 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign against Japan. How do you see the match ending?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.