Tributes flow for Sir Wilson Whineray

By Dave Williams, NZ Newswire Updated October 23, 2012, 10:00 am

Tributes are continuing to flow for former All Black skipper Sir Wilson Whineray, a man so popular even with his opponents 50,000 Welshmen sang "For he's a jolly good fellow" as he was carried from the field.

Whineray died in Auckland Hospital on Monday, aged 77.

Remembered as one of New Zealand rugby's greatest leaders and a gentleman, he played 77 times for the All Blacks between 1957 and 1965, captaining them in 30 of his 32 Tests.

He was also a captain of industry, chairing the boards of Carter Holt Harvey and the National Bank.

New Zealand's greatest rugby player, Sir Colin Meads, who played alongside Whineray for most of his All Black career, agreed with his description in the title of his biography, A Perfect Gentleman.

"He was the perfect gentleman, in all walks of life. Whether we were at Buckingham Palace, or whether on our way home after a game, a dinner, a bit of a booze up, an argument with some Welshman, he was the perfect gentleman," he told Radio New Zealand.

Whineray captained the All Blacks on their 36-match tour of the Northern Hemisphere in 1963-64.

During the final match, against the Barbarians at Cardiff, the prop most famously sold a deft centre-like dummy to score a popular try.

After the match he was carried shoulder-high from the field at Cardiff while some 50,000 broke into For He's a Jolly Good Fellow.

Rugby writer Terry McLean, describing his captaincy during that tour as "highly intelligent, mature beyond his years... a firm but calm leader who commanded unqualified admiration."

"I would unhesitatingly acclaim him as New Zealand's greatest captain."

However, Whineray played down his captaincy, saying during a radio interview a baboon could have captained the side they were so good.

All Black coach Steve Hansen, who is attending his own father's funeral on Tuesday, said Whineray was a legend in the New Zealand game and "a hell of a good person too". "The few times I met him, he was a true gentleman and a lovely man.

"The All Blacks' condolences and our own family condolences to the Whinerays because clearly we know what they're all going through at the moment."

Knighted in 1998 for services to sport and business management, Whineray is survived by his wife Lady Elisabeth, three children and five grandchildren.

They said his death would leave a large gap in their lives.

"Our father led a rich life filled to the brim with family, sport, business and the community we are blessed with many wonderful memories of him," they said in a statement.

"We will always remember his energy and passion for everything he did and we remember one of his favourite comments was that he didn't regret a single day in his life."

Arrangements for his funeral are yet to be announced.

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  1. 08:08pm Tuesday 23rd October 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    And for Roachie McCow they all sing "For he's a cheating fellow" "and so say all of us" !!

  2. 07:38pm Tuesday 23rd October 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Whineray was the best captain NZ has ever had and probably will ever have. He was the complete package, gentleman, articulate, astute, tough skilled player and a captain who had respect from his whole team and international opponents without exception. Sorry I cart say the same about the current captain.

  3. splat12:22pm Tuesday 23rd October 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    People like this produce world champions generations down the line.His legacy amongst others is why The All Blacks continue to be so hard to beat. My condolences go out the his whanau.

  4. 10:13am Tuesday 23rd October 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Wow! .. heard a great obituary on Radio National this Morning .. I may even buy - or at least take a peek at his Book - I,ve never been sucked Into buying Sports Bioghaphies before ... but this Guy must,ve been something else .. by all the accounts that I,ve heard, & My old Man was Never Generous with his Praise ... but he spoke well of Sir Wilson Whineray

  5. Tipene09:50am Tuesday 23rd October 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Read his book, started with nothing as a farm cadet PG - all that needs to be said...

  6. 32 0
    Adam09:44am Tuesday 23rd October 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    RIP Sir Wilson Whineray, rest well. Thank you very much for all the classic rugby and everything you contributed to rugby. Our sincerest condolences and deepest sympathy to the family.

  7. Scooter07:35am Tuesday 23rd October 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Nice one Ace

  8. Ace07:19am Tuesday 23rd October 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Its OK Mr B....PG is still wet behind the ears. His mother is checking his heritage and he is definitely from a monkey.

  9. Mr B06:49am Tuesday 23rd October 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    didnt take you long pg. You wouldnt have the guts to say what you do to the AB's, face to face, but that doesnt surprise me.

  10. PG06:39am Tuesday 23rd October 2012 NZDTReport Abuse


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