New Zealand Rugby
Unique All Black Tindill dies
August 2, 2010
Eric Tindill has died aged 99 © Getty Images
Legendary former All Black Eric Tindill has died aged 99. A talented footballer who could play half-back and first five-eighth, he held the unique distinction of being the only man to represent New Zealand in both rugby and cricket Tests.
In November 2009 he became the oldest living Test cricketer, having played wicket-keeper for his country on five occasions between 1937 and 1947, and was also at the time of his death the oldest surviving All Black.
He won his sole All Blacks Test cap at fly-half in a 13-0 loss to England at Twickenham in 1936 - a game now famous for Alexander Obolensky's thrilling tries on debut for the home side. He also played 16 tour games for his country.
Following his retirement from playing Tindill racked up another unique double, refereeing rugby and cricket at the highest level. He took charge of the first two Tests between the All Blacks and British & Irish Lions in 1950, later returning to Lancaster Park in Christchurch to umpire the Black Caps' Test against England in 1959. He was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.
"Eric was our last remaining pre-Second World War All Black and it's appropriate that we pay tribute to his role in that part of our colourful All Blacks history," New Zealand Rugby Union chief Steve Tew said. "When we celebrated Eric's 99th birthday with him in December last year, it was a wonderful occasion that allowed us to thank Eric for his outstanding contribution to New Zealand sport.
"And while we continue to acknowledge and remember that wonderful contribution, today our thoughts are very much with Eric's family."