30 Alex Wyl­lie [1970-1973] CAPS 11

NZ Rugby World - - Brand Standing -

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.

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