David Kirk became the first captain to hold the Webb Ellis Cup aloft after New Zealand’s 29-9 victory over France in the final of the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.
A scrum-half with Otago and Auckland, Kirk won the first of his 17 caps in an 18-13 win against England in Christchurch. A year later and at the same venue, he enjoyed a winning start as captain with victory over France.
Kirk was only handed the captain’s armband for RWC 1987 after the original choice, hooker Andy Dalton, suffered an injury on the eve of the tournament. Kirk captained New Zealand in each of their six matches, forming a lethal half-back partnership with Grant Fox and scoring five tries.
An accomplished sevens player, he represented New Zealand in that format of the game from 1984-86.
After stepping down from international rugby, Kirk won two Blues while studying medicine at Oxford University.
The greatest reward of all does not change. It is the satisfaction as you look around at your teammates and say ‘well, we did it together, we beat the world