The Press

Outspoken Haden loses battle with illness

- Richard Knowler

All Blacks great Andy Haden died in Auckland yesterday after a long illness. He was 69.

A spokespers­on for Haden’s family said the former lock died at about 7am at his home surrounded by family. His funeral will be at 1.30pm on Monday at Eden Park, where he played so many matches for Auckland and the All Blacks.

Haden played 117 matches, including 41 tests, for the All Blacks from 1972 to 1985.

He captained his country on eight occasions and was a controvers­ial figure at times, on and off the field, but earned his place as a fixture in New Zealand’s second row once he finally made his test debut in 1977 against the British and Irish Lions in Wellington.

Haden had been seriously ill for a long time and was recently sent home from hospital for palliative care after his health took a major turn for the worse.

He confirmed in 2003 that he had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocyti­c leukaemia.

Haden racked up more than a century of appearance­s for Auckland at provincial level and for Ponsonby in the club game.

Haden’s first appearance for the All Blacks, at the age of 21, was on the 1972 tour north against New York Metropolit­an in New York, though it was five years before he made his test debut against the touring Lions. He and Frank Oliver were fixtures in the second row for the 3-1 New Zealand series victory.

He was a central figure in the 1978 Grand Slam tour of the UK and Ireland. His ‘‘dive’’ from a lineout late in the 13-12 victory over Wales in Cardiff becoming a major talking point.

The All Blacks were awarded a match-winning penalty, goaled by Brian McKechnie, though it was later clarified as being for an obstructio­n on Oliver, and not Haden’s dramatic plunge.

‘‘They climbed over me all day, that’s why we came up with the remedy we did,’’ Haden explained of his much-talked-about ploy.

It was a bitter defeat for Wales, with their legendary fullback JPR Williams claiming Haden should have been sent off ‘‘for ungentlema­nly conduct’’.

Haden’s final test for the All Blacks was on the 1985 tour of Argentina and he retired the following year.

Always outspoken and often controvers­ial, Haden was considered a forerunner of the profession­al era with his progressiv­e approach to payments for players.

Late in his playing career, he set up a promotions and management company.

Former All Blacks lock Andy Haden, who died in Auckland yesterday, wasn’t one to stand meekly on the sidelines, whether it be in rugby or business.

He didn’t suffer fools and could be polarising. Haden could never be accused of being politicall­y correct, or unafraid to speak his mind.

It was almost as if he enjoyed being provocativ­e. Haden repeatedly challenged the authority of rugby administra­tors during an All Blacks career that began in 1972 and ended in 1985, and many players of his era would have been thankful for his interventi­ons.

He was equally bullish when he embarked on a very successful career as an agent to a variety of high-profile New Zealanders. Some called him a bully. Others defended his right to drive a hard bargain, and they respected him for it.

Haden, who made 117 appearance­s for the All Blacks, knew life was not a rehearsal. Here is a timeline of his achievemen­ts, and controvers­ies.

1972: Makes All Blacks debut against New York Metropolit­an in New York on October 21. The All Blacks win 41-9 at Downing Stadium.

1976: The long wait is over. Haden is back in black – at last.

Never one to buckle to authority, the free-spirited Haden elects to play a couple of seasons during the European winters after the 1972-73 All Blacks’ tour.

Chasing a fresh lifestyle on the continent helps him to learn new languages and develop a taste for good food, but it doesn’t appear to do him much good when it comes to being reselected for the national team.

Having been overlooked for the All Blacks’ tour of South Africa in 1976, Haden is picked in an inexperien­ced squad captained by Graham Mourie, for the tour of Argentina.

Haden plays eight games, which includes two starts in the unofficial ‘‘tests’’ against the Pumas. He is named the New Zealand player of the year.

1977: Finally makes his test debut, against the British and Irish Lions in Wellington. Haden plays all four tests, as the All Blacks win the series 3-1.

1978: Haden is a central figure in one of the most controvers­ial moments in All Blacks history when he pushes the limits of gamesmansh­ip by diving out of a lineout against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park.

English referee Roger Quittenton awarded the All Blacks a penalty on the grounds that Welshman Geoff Wheel had jumped off Frank Oliver’s shoulder, and not because of Haden’s ‘‘Hollywood’’.

Brian McKechnie kicks the winning penalty, and the All Blacks hold on to win 13-12. Furious Welsh fans and ex-test players rage at the poor sportsmans­hip from the giant second rower. Some have never forgotten, or forgiven, Haden for his audacious flop.

1979: Captains the All Blacks for the first time, against Anglo-Scots at Dundee during the tour of Britain and Italy. The All Blacks win 18-9.

1980: Frustratio­ns with adidas, who supplied boots to the All Blacks players, bubble over and Haden decides he has had enough. He organises a ‘‘boot black-out’’ movement, for the test against

Wales in Cardiff.

Before arriving at Cardiff Arms Park the All Blacks blot out the three white stripes, adidas’ signature design, on their boots. A member of the English media writes that the All Blacks inked out the stripes over a money dispute – remember, this was during the amateur era – but Haden denies this and says no All Black ever appeared on any tax department lists supplied by adidas.

1981: The Springboks’ arrival in New Zealand boosts sales of barbed wire, motorcycle helmets and bandages. They also play rugby, while Kiwi civilians engage in a civil war outside grounds around the country.

An unrepentan­t Haden, a paid up member of the sport-and-politicsdo­n’t-mix brigade, helps the All Blacks win a pulsating test series 2-1.

1983: Publishes his first book, titled Boots’n All!, while still playing. The Internatio­nal Rugby Board (now World Rugby) prohibits players accepting royalties because the game is still amateur.

The New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU) charges him with promoting profession­alism. Haden isn’t bothered.

The stoush with adidas also rumbles on. Haden and Murray Mexted are permitted by the NZRFU to break new ground by wearing New Zealand-made Lydiard Laser boots in the 1983 series against the British and Irish Lions.

1985: Auckland, with John Hart as coach and Haden as skipper, beat Canterbury to lift the Ranfurly Shield in the ‘‘Match of the Century’’ at Lancaster Park in Christchur­ch.

The victory marks the start of the famous shield era that lasts eight years.

On November 2, Haden made his 117th and final appearance for the All Blacks against Argentina in Buenos Aires. The All Blacks are fortunate to salvage a 21-21 draw.

1986: A squad of All Blacks, who call themselves the Cavaliers, defy the NZRFU and embark on an unsanction­ed tour of South Africa.

Haden, now in the twilight of his career, is heavily involved in organising it. He later retires from first-class rugby following the 3-1 series loss.

1987: His sports management company, Sporting Contacts, which was founded in 1982, hits the headlines when it’s revealed New Zealand supermodel Rachel Hunter has joined the company’s stable.

1988: Publishes his second book Lock Stock ’n Barrel. As he did in Boots’n All!, Haden doesn’t hold back. This includes having a dig at critics of the Cavaliers tour, rugby administra­tors and media.

2003: Diagnosed with chronic lymphocyti­c leukaemia. After a sixmonth course of chemothera­py he declares he has the cancer under


2010: Loses his role as Rugby World Cup Ambassador, an unpaid job given to him by then-Sports Minister Murray McCully, ahead of the 2011 tournament in New Zealand.

It plays out like this. Firstly, Haden claims on a Sky Sports programme that the Crusaders have a racial quota for non-white players.

Several months later he speaks out in the defence of ex-All Black Robin Brooke, following an extramarit­al incident.

McCully says he has had enough. Haden’s time in the job as ambassador is up.

2020: Haden is seriously ill. He has been diagnosed with cancer.

July 29, 2020: Haden dies in


 ??  ?? Andy Haden
Andy Haden
 ??  ?? Andy Haden, kneeling left, with his Auckland team-mates after winning the Ranfurly Shield off Canterbury in 1985.
Andy Haden, kneeling left, with his Auckland team-mates after winning the Ranfurly Shield off Canterbury in 1985.
 ??  ?? Haden, in background, with celebrity client Rachel Hunter in 2007.
Haden, in background, with celebrity client Rachel Hunter in 2007.
 ??  ?? Locking partners Frank Oliver, left, and Haden prepare for a lineout against Wales in 1978.
Locking partners Frank Oliver, left, and Haden prepare for a lineout against Wales in 1978.
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? After his playing days, Haden never shied away from controvers­y, and caused a storm in 2010 when he accused the Crusaders of racist selection policies.
After his playing days, Haden never shied away from controvers­y, and caused a storm in 2010 when he accused the Crusaders of racist selection policies.

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