NZ Rugby World
DEBUT: Wednesday, 18 October 1967 v Eastern Canada at Montreal aged 21 years, 147 days
LAST TEST: Saturday, 13 August 1977 v British & Irish Lions at Auckland aged 31 years, 81 days
PLAYED: 113 matches, 39 Tests, 74 Games
FUN FACT Kirkpatrick is the only man to have captained both islands: the South in 1969 in his last season with Canterbury and then the North (in 1972-73) when he had returned home to Poverty Bay.
There are so many ways to measure Ian Kirkpatrick’s contribution and impact on rugby. Tall, strong, fast, athletic and with an uncanny ability to anticipate where play was going, he Mquaincdkelylar’ossveistiohnrowuagshtorusgebryu’gsbryaanskas.tool He captained his country 43 times and was skipper on the 1972-73 tour to Europe that saw Keith Murdoch sent home, a decision Kirkpatrick has since called one of his biggest regrets. He was the All Blacks leading try scorer with 18 till over taken by Stu Wilson and was the first forward to score more than 100 first class tries - 115 from 289 cored a hattrick against Australia in 1968 - a notable feat in itself but one that is historic as he came off the bench in the 22nd minute to replace an injured Brian Lochore, the first time a player was replaced in a test match. He was the first choice blindside flanker from then on, having only debuted for Poverty Bay two years earlier. An inductee to the International Rugby Hall of Fame, Kirkpatrick’s roll call of honours is offset by two public indignities that should have been avoided. He was publicly dropped as captain when the team was read out under Athletic Park after the 1974 trials, and wasn’t forewarned he wouldn’t be taken to France in 1977, told instead by his brother Colin while they were on the Poverty Bay team bus after playing Counties in Pukekohe. “I wondered why [his teammates] were bloody quiet,” he recalls. “My brother said, ‘By the way, you’re not in the All Blacks’.” Kirkpatrick was manager of the Cavaliers team that toured South Africa in 1986 and was used as a mentor at the Hurricanes in the mid-to-late 2000s.