26 John Gra­ham [1958-1964] CAPS 22

NZ Rugby World - - Brand Standing -

Iron­i­cally, it wasn’t so much of what John Gra­ham did on the field that was so in­flu­en­tial, it was more what he did o it.

Gra­ham, a flanker, was not a big man by most stan­dards but was a pun­ish­ing tack­ler and a sound thinker.

He toured South Africa in 1960, Aus­tralia in 1962 and Bri­tain, Ire­land and France in 1963-64 be­fore cap­tain­ing the All Blacks at home against Aus­tralia in 1964.

In an un­likely way he made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to Brian Lo­chore’s ca­reer when Lo­chore, a lit­tle down in the dumps about lack of play­ing time in 1963, asked Gra­ham when he would get a chance. Gra­ham re­sponded by say­ing he was do­ing fine and pointed out how few chances he had be­fore es­tab­lish­ing him­self in South Africa in 1960.

Lo­chore perked up, and found him­self sud­denly thrust into the next game against Eng­land, due to ill­ness, for his test de­but.

But it was in his post-play­ing ca­reer that Gra­ham had a greater in­flu­ence. Apart from two stints as Auck­land as­sis­tant coach he was in­volved in the set­ting up of the New Zealand Se­condary Schools’ Rugby Coun­cil, an in­sti­tu­tion that has been so piv­otal in en­sur­ing the de­vel­op­ment of depth in the game, while at the same time serv­ing as head­mas­ter of Auck­land Gram­mar, one of the coun­try’s rugby nurs­eries.

With gov­er­nance skills he was also in­volved in cru­cial re­views of as­pects of the game while also serv­ing as a pres­i­dent of New Zealand Rugby.

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