Full name Wilson James Whineray
Born July 10, 1935, Auckland
Died October 22, 2012, Auckland (aged 77 years 104 days)
Major teams New Zealand
|Test debut||Australia v New Zealand at Sydney, May 25, 1957 match details|
|Last Test||New Zealand v South Africa at Auckland, Sep 18, 1965 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Sir Wilson Whineray was widely acclaimed as one of, if not the, best All Blacks captains in history. His unique, visionary leadership skills saw him captain the All Blacks in 30 of his 32 Tests.
Whineray played rugby for no fewer than six provincial regions, due to his academic study and work as an agricultural field cadet. While he pulled on the famous shirts of Canterbury and Waikato, it was for Auckland that Whineray played the bulk of his career.
An extremely mobile prop and sometime No.8, Whineray possessed the drive and intelligence to lead others with notable aplomb. His rugby education began early, and by the age of 21 Whineray had defeated touring Springbok sides twice, once with Canterbury and another with New Zealand universities.
He captained his first All Blacks side at the tender age of 23. He had previously worn the silver fern at age grade levels, and was installed as captain of the full side for the 1958 series with the Wallabies.
Whineray led the All Blacks in the 3-1 series victory over the touring British Isles in 1959 before tackling arguably his biggest personal challenge on the 1960 tour to South Africa.
Whineray's scrummaging was under scrutiny from certain quarters during the tour, and he was placed under immense pressure by the colossal Springbok Piet Du Toit. As a testament to the man's character he endeavoured to bring his scrimmaging ability in line with the rest of his game, and gradually he became part of a rock hard All Black forward pack.
His leadership skills marked him out as an automatic choice for the national team, but he was not content with having any weakness in his game.
Whineray was a member of one of the great Auckland sides, holding the prestigious Ranfurly Shield between 1960-63. He had captained the side that claimed the trophy from Southland in 1959, but played under the captaincy of Bob Graham during this time due to his All Black commitments.
Whineray was heralded by many in New Zealand as the finest captain of all, and remains to be so. Despite the undeniable excellence of some of his predecessors - Sean Fitzpatrick, Grant Fox and Tana Umaga - it was Whineray who set the standards of preparation, motivation and commitment that these players have sought to emulate.
In his post-rugby career, Whineray continued to excel. He went on to serve as the chairman of the board for Carter Holt Harvey, one of the largest companies in New Zealand.
While he never held an office within rugby, Whineray remained close to sport through his offices as chairman of the Hillary Commission, the body that allocates funding for elite sport, and a board member of Eden Park.
Having served rugby in an advisory capacity Whineray became the patron of the NZRU in 2003.