The Dominion Post
game to Lochore’s armoury, which would be unheard of nowadays for someone in the pack.
‘‘He could kick, he prided himself on his drop kicking, and every now and again he would insist on taking an up and under,’’ Laidlaw recalled. ‘‘Many of them worked, some of them didn’t.
‘‘But he was very capable of laughing at himself, and that too was a really attractive feature about Brian.’’
That self-effacing nature was a real character trait, Laidlaw said.
‘‘The thing about Brian was that he never had any great expectations of himself. He was humble, he was always polite with people, he always treated everybody, including his fellow players, with dignity. And not many people do that.
‘‘That is, I think, why he became such a loved individual. You knew what he was about, you knew what you were getting, and people would appreciate that.
‘‘He was a very successful captain because of that. He was a leader that inspired other people by his own example. And personal respect is the most important aspect in leadership, there’s no doubt about that. And he had that in enormous quantities.’’
As the halfback and No 8, the duo would work closely together to run the game, and Laidlaw admitted there were times when they didn’t see eye to eye, but he knew who was boss, always in a not too confrontational way, mind you.
‘‘We occasionally argued. He would get his way most of the time, because if he was the captain he had the final say. But he was really very easy to work with on the field, never lost his cool, and was always looking at how we were doing, how other players were getting on, he would talk to them quietly.’’
Away from the game, Lochore was a big contributor to the community, and Laidlaw noted how he was a man not many people could say no to.
‘‘I think the thing he did best was chairing the Queen Elizabeth II Trust, which was the setting aside of land for natural resources purposes, in other words, regenerating bush on farms.
‘‘People would pledge that land, and the QE II Trust was responsible for maintaining it and adding it to the national store of biodiversity. And he would occasionally ring up people and say: Look, Brian Lochore here, you’ve got a spot of bush on your land, you might like to think of pledging it to the state.
‘‘And if it had been anybody else, many people might have objected and said: No, no, no, I don’t want to do that. But when Brian Lochore asked them, they would have difficulty refusing.’’
Sir Graham Henry offered similar sentiments when speaking to Radio Sport, labelling Lochore – who he brought in as a selector during his time as All Blacks coach – as ‘‘one of the greats’’, and an inspiring figure.
‘‘He was a fabulous role model for everybody because he epitomised what we were trying to achieve; humble guys all striving to get better,’’ Henry told Radio Sport. ‘‘He coined the phrase ‘better people make better All Blacks’, and he lived that.
‘‘He was just one of those great All Blacks captains who had presence, could play well. Colin Meads played with him and I remember him saying: you just wanted to play for BJ.
‘‘He had the ability to galvanise people and play for a cause, because they didn’t want to let him down.’’