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19 Jan 2018 4:45
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby

    Former All Blacks captain John Graham dies

    Former All Blacks captain and long-serving Auckland Grammar School headmaster Sir John Graham has died peacefully at the age of 82.

    New Zealand is mourning the death of one of its most highly regarded All Blacks captains and education leaders, Sir John Graham.

    Graham died peacefully on Wednesday at the age of 82.

    A skilful former loose forward, he was captain in the last three of his 22 Tests in a career which spanned seven years. He was skipper in seven other games.

    He appeared in every Test during a highly successful All Blacks period from 1961-64.

    All Blacks coach Steve Hansen paid tribute to Graham at the team's training camp in Christchurch.

    "It's particularly sad because there's so many of us in the team who he's helped along the way," Hansen said.

    "He was certainly a good mentor for me when I came into the All Blacks - he always had a wise word and good counselling about how to cope with things that weren't the way you'd like them to be.

    "He was just a good man."

    NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew described Graham as a great all-round New Zealander.

    "From his exploits on the rugby field to those in the classroom, he was simply exceptional," Tew said.

    "His commitment to all aspects of the game and New Zealand society is legendary."

    Tew said Graham was an early member of the Rugby Foundation, which looks after severely injured players.

    "His ongoing dedication to those players speaks volumes of the kind of man he was."

    Taranaki-born and raised Graham first worked as a teacher in Christchurch and became an influential figure after his playing days for his achievements in the education sphere.

    He was the headmaster at Auckland Grammar School from 1973 to 1993 and then became Chancellor of the University of Auckland for six years.

    "Sir John's passion for quality education saw decades of his life committed to the education sector," Auckland Grammar School said in a statement.

    "His influence was felt far beyond the walls of the school itself."

    Amongst many honours, Graham was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1995 for services to education and was knighted 16 years later for services to education and sports.

    In sports administration, he was New Zealand cricket team manager for three years in the late 1990s and became president of the New Zealand Rugby Union for a three-year term ending in 2007.

    He is survived by wife Lady Sheila Graham.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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