New Zealand Rugby
McCaw leads Hobbs tributes
ESPNscrum Staff
March 14, 2012
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw receives his 100th cap from former New Zealand international Jock Hobbs, New Zealand v France, Rugby World Cup, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, September 24, 2011
Jock Hobbs presented Richie McCaw with his 100th All Blacks cap last September © Getty Images

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has led the tributes to New Zealand rugby legend Jock Hobbs.

The former All Blacks skipper and New Zealand Rugby Union chairman lost his battle with cancer this week. Among his numerous achievements as a player and administrator was his central role in ensuring the 2011 Rugby World Cup was held in New Zealand - 24 years after they hosted the inaugural competition.

And World Cup winning captain McCaw, who received his 100th cap from Hobbs, has revealed he also played an important role in helping the All Blacks regain the World Cup. The former flanker, who won 21 caps for the All Blacks between 1983 and 1986, was brought in to talk to the team during the tournament due to the high esteem in which he was held by the players.

"He doesn't need to say much; just having him around was pretty special," McCaw told the New Zealand Herald. "And putting that aside, he's just a good man to have a beer with and he's a good mate. We had to deal with playing a game while he had to deal with a hell of a lot more.

"Sure, he was chairman of the rugby union. But he cared about individuals and that's what I enjoyed."

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen paid tribute to his former Canterbury team-mate by saying: "There have been a lot of great people involved in New Zealand rugby. But I think this man is the greatest.

"When you go back through the history of administration, he has been involved in all the big, critical moments."

Hansen added: "So many times New Zealand rugby has needed someone to stand up and it just seemed to be Jock at the forefront of it, supported by other people obviously. He has been a great New Zealander and we will sadly miss him.

"He was like the Nelson Mandela for us. Everyone just loved him. His playing was no different. He played with a level of integrity and level of concentration and focus that was way beyond most people."

As well as playing a key role in bringing the World Cup tournament back to New Zealand, Hobbs also chaired the board of Rugby New Zealand 2011 (RNZ 2011) - the tournament organisers - before stepping down due to ill health in 2010.

Martin Snedden, who was chief executive officer of RNZ 2011, said: "There were two or three occasions during the tournament where Jock took me aside to check how our staff, including me, were faring appreciating the pressure everyone was under. He frequently asked me how he could help. I told him that his very presence at so many matches was in itself providing us with great inspiration. He was a fine man and leader. We will all miss him."

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