30 Alex Wyllie [1970-1973] CAPS 11
While he enjoyed something of a hard-man reputation for his actions during a 187-game career with Canterbury, and 279 firstclass games overall – including 11 tests for the All Blacks on tours of South Africa in 1970 and Britain, Ireland and France in 1972-1973 and at home against the British & Irish Lions in 1971 – it was in the coaching area that Wyllie enjoyed his greatest influence.
He took on the coaching of Canterbury in 1982, the side winning the Ranfurly Shield o Wellington that year and continuing through until 1985 on a record-equalling run which blew life into domestic rugby, before the Shield was lost to Auckland after one of the great games in New Zealand history.
Wyllie wasn’t averse to trying things. He was the first provincial coach to utilise Jim Blair’s fitness strategies and he produced several All Blacks from his sides.
After his stint as assistant coach in New Zealand’s 1987 World Cup campaign, he was appointed coach of the side in 1988, a position he retained until the 1991 World Cup.
The All Blacks enjoyed a strong run being unbeaten in 29 consecutive tests – losing only three in that time. He also had a stint coaching Argentina.