Mourners pay tribute to Hobbs
March 18, 2012
Current All Blacks captain Richie McCaw was one of those present to pay their respects to the late Jock Hobbs © Getty Images
All Blacks past and present were among hundreds of mourners who gathered in Wellington on Sunday to pay tribute to former captain and New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Jock Hobbs who died earlier this week at the age of 52 after a long battle with leukaemia.
The Herald on Sunday reports that the mourners included Hobbs' brother-in-law, Wallabies' coach Robbie Deans, former All Blacks' coach Graham Henry, and past players Sir Colin Meads and Grant Fox along with current stars such as captain Richie McCaw. Prime Minister John Key also paid his respects at the Old St Paul's Church.
McCaw told the service they had lost a great New Zealander, an All Black captain and the man who led the game. "But you put all that to the side, I think you'll agree we've lost a mate, just a genuine good bugger.''
As an administrator, Hobbs was credited with securing the signatures of the All Blacks on New Zealand rugby contracts when the game went professional in 1995 but was equally happy taking part in training. "Everyone would just think it was just Jock, putting on the boots and getting out there,'' McCaw said. "From the team's point of view, we absolutely loved the time we had with him.''
Born in Christchurch in 1960 and educated at Christ's College, Hobbs went on to Canterbury University to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1983 and joined Wellington law firm Rainey Collins in 1987, where he was made a partner in 1987 and managing partner four years later.
Hobbs first played for Canterbury as a flanker in 1980, but his pivotal moment for the team came in 1982 when they beat Wellington to claim the Ranfurly Shield. He was selected as an All Black in 1983, playing his first test against the Lions at Lancaster Park.
His career spanned 39 games, 21 of them test matches, and he captained the team 16 times, four of them in Tests. Hobbs was chairman of the NZRU from 2002 until he stood down in 2010 as his health declined and was a key figure in securing and staging the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
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