Full name Ian Andrew Kirkpatrick
Born May 24, 1946, Gisborne
Current age 68 years 131 days
Major teams Presidents XV, New Zealand
|Test debut||France v New Zealand at Colombes, Nov 25, 1967 match details|
|Last Test||New Zealand v British and Irish Lions at Auckland, Aug 13, 1977 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
A product of an era in which countries played fewer Tests, Ian Kirkpatrick's career stats make for impressive reading and underline his status as one of New Zealand's finest ever forwards.
After making his name as a dynamic flanker with Auckland's Kings College, Kirkpatrick joined Poverty Bay as a 20-year-old in 1966. He lined out for a combined Poverty Bay-East Coast side against the British & Irish Lions later that year before moving on to Canterbury in 1967.
Kirkpatrick's career was on the rise but his inclusion in the All Blacks squad for that year's tour of Great Britain and France still came as a quite a surprise. However, coach Fred Allen's faith in the youngster was quickly justified, with Kirkpatrick nothing a try in his first start, against Les Bleus.
He then missed the following week's game against Scotland, meaning he was made to wait until the following year for his second appearance for the Kiwis, against Australia. However, after being sprung from the bench for the game against the Wallabies, he helped himself to a hat-trick which really made New Zealand fans sit up and take notice.
From that game on, Kirkpatrick was one of the first names on the New Zealand team sheet. Indeed, between June 1968 and August 1977, he did not miss a single game for the All Blacks. During that time, he featured in two series against the Lions. The 1971 series went the way of the tourists, but the Kiwis gained revenge six years later.
Surprisingly, the All Blacks' final game against the Lions in 1977, in Auckland, was to be his last Test appearance. He had earned 39 caps for his country, nine of which came as captain, and scored 16 tries, a record which stood until 1983, when it was eclipsed by Stu Wilson.
However, his international career had been ended rather ignominiously as he was only told of his omission from the New Zealand squad for the end-of-year tour of France by his brother Colin on the Poverty Bay team bus. Given that he had learned of his loss of the All Black captaincy three years previously in a similar manner, it seemed a shoddy way for such a great servant of New Zealand rugby to be treated.
Kirkpatrick was also involved in controversy in 1986 when he led the Cavaliers on their unauthorised tour of South Africa. However, he remains one of the most respected figures in New Zealand Rugby and was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2003.