All Blacks legend Alex "Grizz" Wyllie takes on new bowling event

On the rugby field, Alex 'Grizz' Wyllie was a tough, uncompromising character, both as a player and a coach.

Now, he's taking on a different sporting challenge.

The 74-year-old will represent Canterbury for the inaugural Bowls3Five league - the sport's version of T20 cricket - starting later this month.

Along with partners Jenny Anderson and Na Katae, they'll be the province's representatives in Auckland over the next couple of months.

Wyllie is in his sixth season playing club bowls, after a decorated playing and coaching career in rugby union.

In the early 1970's, Wyllie played 11 tests for the All Blacks, including three as captain. He went on to coach the national side for three years, winning 25 of his 29 tests in charge - an 86 percent record.

The Woodend Jets will be the only real country club involved, competing against five others, some of them stacked with the nation's best players, including former world outdoor champion Shannon McIlroy.  

"Looking at some of the teams we are playing against, they’re going to be a damn lot stronger than we imagined they would be," admitted Wyllie.

The other teams taking part include the Gore Rams, Point Chevalier Pirates, Royal Oak Rockets, Stoke Thunder and the Stokes Valley Vipers.

Katae is targeting a fourth or fifth-placed finish.

The first set of games begin on Tuesday, October 23.