All Blacks: Tributes flow after death of Sir Brian Lochore

The New Zealand sporting community is paying tribute following the passing of All Blacks great Sir Brian Lochore.

The news came through late on Saturday night that Sir Brian died, aged 78, after a battle with bowel cancer.

Lochore played  68 games, 25 of which were tests for New Zealand between 1964 and 1971 - captaining the team in 18 and winning 15 (suffering three losses to South Africa).

After his playing career he  went onto coach the All Blacks to victory in the 1987 Rugby World Cup final. 

He was knighted in 1999 and inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in the same year.

Current All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and captain Kieran Read both paid their respects to Lochore in Perth, where the team is currently preparing for next week's Bledisloe Cup test.

"It's with great sadness that we have heard that one of New Zealand's tallest kauri has fallen," Hansen said.

"Sir Brian Lochore is one of the most respected men in New Zealand, not only in rugby but all facets of New Zealand life, as well as being hugely respected and held in high regard around the world.

"On behalf of the All Blacks and myself personally, we pass on our deepest sympathies to Pam, their kids David, Joanne and Sandra and the wider Lochore family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Arohanui from us all."

Captain Kieran Read added it was an "incredibly sad day".

"Sir Brian was an icon of our game. On behalf of all players, our thoughts go out to his family at this time."

Former All Blacks Nick Evans and Sean Fitzpatrick also paid tribute to Sir Brian.

"This man gave me my first All Black Jersey. This man was an All Black legend. RIP Sir Brian Lochore," said Evans.

"RIP Sir Brian. Great rugby man. Great man. Our thoughts are with Pam and the family," said Fitzpatrick. 

Others involved in New Zealand sport, including Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson and Blackcaps batsman Ross Taylor, were also among those to pay their respects. 

"Sir Brian Lochore was a giant of NZ Rugby," said Robertson. "A fearless player, respected leader and wise and wily coach.

"He gave so much to the game he loved and inspired so many. My thoughts with Lady Pam and family. Rest easy now BJ."

Taylor said he will always remeber Lachore's "big hands." 

"Sad to hear of the passing of NZ rugby and Wairarapa Bush legend Sir Brian Lochore," he said.  "An honour to have met him and received some wise words over the years.

"Will never forget those huge hands! Thoughts are with the family, Rest In Peace BJ.


The news also generated international headlines, with World Rugby boss Brett Gosper and president of Italian Rugby Alfredo Gavazzi tweeting their sympathies. 

"All our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to the people of New Zealand, New Zealand Rugby and especially the family and friends of All Blacks colossus Brian Lochore," said Gosper. 

"Our deepest condolences to our friends at NZ Rugby as All Blacks legend Sir Brian Lochore passes away," said Gavazzi.

"Sir Brian was a a real legend of the Game. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May he rest in peace."


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