Voice of NZ rugby honoured on eve of 300th Test

2018-06-04 17:21
Grant Nisbett (Getty Images)
Grant Nisbett (Getty Images)

Cape Town - New Zealand's voice of rugby, Grant Nisbett - universally known as Nisbo to friends and strangers alike - will commentate his 300th All Blacks Test in his home town on Wellington on Saturday, June 16, after being made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to sports broadcasting.

According to the Stuff website's Mark Geenty, the letter signed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived at Nisbett's house and evoked a poignant moment.

His wife, Toni, died of cancer in December 2015, and Nisbett could hardly wait to tell his Auckland-based daughters Brooke and Kirstie who will be back home for the father's milestone Test.

No one has watched more All Blacks rugby in person, a feat previously noted by Nisbett's friend Keith Quinn who called nearly 200 Tests himself. Nisbett's first televised call was the All Blacks' 10-9 win over France in Christchurch in 1984, and his 300th will be against the same opponents at the Westpac Stadium, after Saturday's series opener in Auckland.

He only counts the ones he called in person. That rules out one in Argentina when he called Scott Robertson's winning try from Auckland, and another at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when a dispute over virtual advertising meant a lockout and left Nisbett clutching the microphone in a nearby studio.

Most of his 298 were chalked up in the past 22 years as Sky's lead commentator.

Aside from his two World Cup finals in 2011 and 2015, a Nisbett favourite remains the 1996 Athletic Park Test against the Wallabies, a 43-6 win on a rotten Wellington afternoon.

Post 300, there are no plans to hang up the microphone. 'Nisbo' still loves his job and remains the consummate professional.

"Ultimately those decisions are not yours, I suspect. As long as I can keep the standards up. You'd be the first to know if your standards were starting to drop away. I think I'm still hanging in there."

For the record, the All Blacks have played 571 Tests in their history, winning 440 of those for a staggering 77% win-rate.

Read more on:    all blacks  |  rugby


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