34 Gra­ham Mourie [1976-1982] CAPS 21

NZ Rugby World - - Green Tea Party -

For a player who cast such an aura over the pe­riod he played, Gra­ham Mourie’s ca­reer was rel­a­tively brief and in­volved only 21 test matches, al­though his stance on mat­ters South African de­nied him three caps against the 1981 Spring­boks, while in­jury de­nied him tests against Aus­tralia in 1978 and fi­nan­cial de­mands meant he didn’t tour Aus­tralia in 1980.

But there can be no doubt his cere­bral ap­proach in­flu­enced the All Blacks when he did play.

Af­ter early ex­po­sure of his lead­er­ship in Ar­gentina in 1976, he was handed the cap­taincy in 1977 in a two-test se­ries in France, the sec­ond of which was an out­stand­ing dis­play of Kiwi cun­ning de­vised by fel­low loose for­ward Kevin Eveleigh to run the huge French pack o their feet.

He led the side to the first Grand Slam in Europe in 1978, which un­for­tu­nately ended his prof­itable as­so­ci­a­tion with coach Jack Glee­son who died of cancer in 1979.

But if there was a time when Mourie demon­strated his finest qual­i­ties it was when lead­ing the All Blacks on the cen­ten­nial tour of Wales, drawing down the cur­tain on a con­tro­ver­sial decade be­tween the sides, through the sheer qual­ity of the rugby played, Mourie him­self scor­ing one of the sweet­est of tries in the Wales test.

His de­ci­sion to take pay­ment for his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy high­lighted the in­tran­si­gence of rugby’s ama­teur at­ti­tude and aided the ad­vent of pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

Coach­ing stints with Welling­ton, and the Hur­ri­canes, over a five-year pe­riod at the turn of the cen­tury were fol­lowed by his serv­ing on the NZR coun­cil from 2002-2013.

DEEP THINKER Gra­ham Mourie was an in­tel­li­gent player who oth­ers as­pired to be like.

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