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Wilson Whineray was New Zealand’s longest-serving captain for more than 30 years, and is widely acclaimed as the All Blacks’ greatest ever leader.
Whineray was awarded the armband at the tender age of 23, scoring twice in his maiden test as captain against Australia in 1958. A prop and occasional number eight, Whineray led the side out in 30 of his 32 tests, 22 of which were won.
Notable successes included the 3-1 series win against the 1959 Lions and the 1963-64 tour to Britain, Ireland and France in which only one of the 34 matches were lost. Fittingly, Whineray scored the final try of the tour after throwing an outrageous dummy in a 36-3 victory over the Barbarians.
Whineray enjoyed a nomadic career at club and provincial level, which included a spell with Auckland during their 26-match reign as Ranfurly Shield holders from 1960-63.
He became the patron of the New Zealand Rugby Union in 2003.
Consider the contribution that sport has made to the development of character in our adolescent boys - a will to succeed, respect for the rules and ethos of the game, the mental and physical toughening that flows from bumps, bruises, a black eye, cut lip - when you know you must get up and push on. All this lies at the heart of the game as we know it and for these reasons we continue the love affair with sport that began when we were boys.