A legendary New Zealand sports writer and author who became the finest reporter of New Zealand rugby for more than half a century.
McLean’s early years as a journalist were spent working for the Auckland Sun and Taranaki Daily News before his career was placed on hold upon the outbreak of World War II. McLean served with the 22nd Infantry Battalion in the Middle East and Italy, where his written accounts of the troops’ deeds caught the eye of the New Zealand Herald, with whom he became sports editor in 1946.
Together his 32 books on rugby tell the story of every incoming tour to New Zealand and many All Black trips overseas. But it was the way he transformed the style of sports writing by introducing comment into what had previously been prosaic straight reporting that arguably set him apart from his contemporaries.
In 1996, McLean became the only New Zealand sports journalist to be knighted for services to sporting journalism.