GLEN OSBORNE: ALL BLACK
‘‘We had a mock exam sometime in the first few weeks and I didn’t do that well, but I had a sergeant that looked after me, who said ‘You need to do this’, and other recruits were tutoring me.’’
He said he was rapt everyone in the wing graduated, the first time it had happened in more than a decade.
In a welcome and unexpected twist for Osborne, Wing 298 was named for John Hart, one of his All Black coaches, who was present at Thursday’s packed-out ceremony.
‘‘Having Harty there as a mentor meant a lot. It was funny – I found out through friends of friends that he was going to be our patron, and I was chuffed. He’s a wonderful person.’’
Hart said Osborne was now part of one New Zealand’s most important teams. It was an honour to be asked to be patron and to speak to the 60 recruits during their 16-week course.
‘‘The members of Wing 298 have made new friends and experiences that will stay with them for life,’’ he said. ‘‘Everything changes for them from today [graduation] with public scrutiny in everything they do, but they will remember the culture and values the New Zealand Police carry.’’
After a short break, Osborne will begin life as a constable in his hometown of Whanganui. He said he expected no favours because of his All Black background, and was keen to knuckle down into frontline police work.
‘‘It’s cool to be going home – I just feel it’s the next part of my journey.’’
He hoped to work with young people in his new career. Glen Osborne played 29 times for the All Blacks, between 1995 and 1999, 19 of them tests.
Playing as a fullback or a wing, his 11 test tries was a good return. His most memorable matches were the 1995 World Cup final and taking part in the first ever series win in South Africa a year later.
He was unfortunate to time his ascendancy to the black jersey with Tana Umaga, Jonah Lomu, Jeff Wilson and Christian Cullen - without at least two of those players there, you would expect Osborne would have played many more games.
The rise of Cullen, especially, and injuries saw Osborne relegated to the bench in 1997.
A Whanganui product who moved to North Harbour, he played the first four years of the Super Rugby competition for the Chiefs. He also played overseas in Japan and France.
With his natural humour and outgoing personality, Osborne was a popular personality off the field.
Former All Glen Osborne graduated police college last week.