Full name Sean Brian Thomas Fitzpatrick
Born June 4, 1963, Auckland
Current age 53 years 266 days
Major teams New Zealand, New Zealand XV
Height 6 ft 0 in
Weight 233 lb
|IRB Rugby World Cup||1987-1995||17||17||0||5||1||0||0||0||15||2||0||88.23|
|The Rugby Championship||1996-1997||8||8||0||0||0||0||0||0||8||0||0||100.00|
|Test debut||New Zealand v France at Christchurch, Jun 28, 1986 match details|
|Last Test||New Zealand v Wales at Wembley, Nov 29, 1997 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Fitzpatrick was born on 4 June 1963 in Auckland, New Zealand and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to have emanated from the 'Land of the long white cloud'.
Son of former All Black Brian Fitzpatrick, he made his New Zealand debut against France on June 28, 1986 and would remain an All Blacks stalwart for the next 11 years, collecting a record 92 caps before a chronic knee injury forced him into retirement.
His last appearance for New Zealand came as a replacement against Wales at Wembley in 1997 and he bowed out of the international stage as the most-capped All Black of all-time - a record he still holds today.
Fitzpatrick also held the New Zealand captaincy from 1992, when he took over from Gary Whetton, until he hung up his boots in 1997 and in doing so set another All Blacks record of 51 appearances as skipper.
His ascent to the international ranks came as part of the 'Baby Blacks' - a new generation of players who were called up as a result of the blanket two-Test ban placed on those rebels, known as the Cavaliers, who had toured South Africa in 1986 against the wish of the New Zealand Rugby Union.
At the time he was only a reserve for Auckland and had limited provincial experience but an injury to intended hooker Bruce Hemara saw him promoted for the Christchurch clash.
Fortune would smile on Fitzpatrick once more on the eve of the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.
Andy Dalton was set to be the hooker and captain the All Blacks with Fitzpatrick his deputy but a hamstring injury ruled Dalton out of the first match, opening the door for Fitzpatrick who subsequently played in all the pool matches.
He made such an impression that he kept a fit-again Dalton out of the side as New Zealand went on to beat France in the tournament finale at Eden Park in Auckland and lay claim the sport's biggest prize.
It was by another favourable twist of fate that Fitzpatrick came to be captain.
Laurie Mains took the All Blacks' coaching reins in 1992 and it was widely thought that his previous skipper at Otago, Mike Brewer, would assume the same role for his country.
However, an injury to Brewer in the final trial match and with previous skipper Gary Whetton out of favour, Fitzpatrick found himself as the likely candidate.
He led New Zealand in the three matches against a World XV as part of the New Zealand Rugby Union's centenary celebrations and struck up a good working relationship with his coach which would last throughout his four year tenancy.
Fitzpatrick, and New Zealand, survived another test of character in 1993 with the visit of the Lions. Faced with the prospect of becoming only the second All Blacks captain ever to lead his team to a series defeat against the tourists he rallied his side to clinch the crucial 3rd Test.
The following year was another gruelling one for the All Blacks with a shock series defeat to France - the first and only European team so far to achieve this.
Further disappointment followed in 1995 with an agonising defeat to old rivals South Africa in the Rugby World Cup Final.
New Zealand were many people's favourites for the crown and they powered their way to the final on the back of a rampaging Jonah Lomu.
However, South Africa skipper Francois Pienaar and the Springboks stunned their New Zealand counterparts, many of whom had been struck down with food poisoning on the eve of the match.
An extra time drop goal from Joel Stransky sealed the win at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Better times would follow in 1996 under new coach John Hart as Fitzpatrick led New Zealand to their first-ever series victory in South Africa.
During the 1997 end of year tour of Europe it became clear that Fitzpatrick was losing his fitness battle with a worsening knee injury limiting him to a supporting role and subsequently he called time on his career at the age of 34.
He played al his provincial rugby, a total of 127 matches, for Auckland who claimed the NPC title a remarkable eight times between 1987 and 1996.
He also represented the Blues in the Super 12 as they captured the prestigious title in its first two seasons in 1996 and 1997.
He was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997 and since retiring has remained a presence in the sport.
He worked as an ambassador for the game and managed the New Zealand Colts and the Blues in the Super 12 before moving to the United Kingdom where he now combines media commitments with work as a motivational speaker.
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