Re­spected on and off the field

South Canterbury Herald - - MOTORING - STU PIDDINGTON

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.’’

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