Respected on and off the field
Former All Black Tom Coughlan has died in Christchurch aged 83.
A tough flanker, Coughlan played his only test against Australia at Athletic Park, in 1958 at the age 24.
The All Blacks won 25-3 and Coughlan put in a creditable performance and seemingly looked set for a solid international career.
He was dropped to the reserves for the second test and from the squad entirely for the third.
Coughlan, however, had a long, distinguished career with South Canterbury.
First picked as an 18-year-old, he amassed 76 caps, in an era when representative programmes were limited.
He also played five times for combined South CanterburyNorth Otago-Mid Canterbury selections, including matches against the 1955 Wallabies, the 1956 Springboks and the 1959 British Lions.
Between 1953 and 1961 Coughlan also played in 14 All Black trials. He also played for the South Island in 1955, 1957-58 and 1960.
Many rugby pundits thought he was unlucky to have missed the 1960 side to tour South Africa.
In 1961 Coughlan moved to King Country and finished his playing days with five matches for his new union, taking him past a century of first class matches.
From South Canterbury farming stock, Coughlan was one of an outstanding rugby family.
His uncle was Tom Lynch, a prolific scoring All Black in 1913-14, while his first cousin was the 1951 All Black of the same name. Brother Frank also represented South Canterbury as did his nephews Tim and Gerard.
Coughlan’s sons, Tom and John, were also NZ representatives. Tom, was a New Zealand Colt and NZ Universities lock in 1984-85 and later a representative for Bay of Plenty and Manawatu while John was an under-17 NZ rep.
His wife Jane was a well-kown pharmacist in Timaru and a district councillor for many years.
South Canterbury Rugby Union chief executive Craig Calder said it was with the greatest degree of sadness the union acknowledged Coughlan’s passing.
‘‘Tom was a very fine South Canterbury loose forward out of the Temuka club. He was well respected on and off the field playing 76 times for the ‘Green and Blacks’.
‘‘It is very sad to lose another famous South Canterbury player in 2017.’’