|Born||Opunake, September 8 1952
|Internationals||21 caps between 1976 and 1982
|Inducted||England v New Zealand (November 5, 2006)
The following article has been adapted from the original by Dai Llewellyn, which focused on two players. It has been changed to highlight only the selected inductee’s information.
Graham Mourie was a classic case of a man who led by example. And what an example. Under his captaincy the 1978 All Blacks created rugby union history by becoming the first touring New Zealand team to complete a Grand Slam against the four Home Countries. The All Blacks arrived at Twickenham for the Armistice Day fixture on the back of close wins over Ireland and Wales.
Mourie was an outstanding back row forward who had a solid work ethic and deep-seated sense of fair play. Under his astute captaincy, the New Zealanders demonstrated a near water-tight defence – they conceded just one try in their four internationals – and relied on a solid pack which featured Brad Johnstone, the former Italy coach, at loose-head prop. Indeed Johnstone scored the All Blacks’ second try against England from a lineout a yard from the line.
An ineffectual England side was perhaps lucky not to have conceded more points. Thankfully even the New Zealanders proved human with lapses of concentration and the odd poor decision with the try-line seemingly at their mercy.
The striking quality of this All Blacks party, though, was not their ability to win, but rather the spirit in which they approached and played each match. In addition to the Grand Slam, this tour was marked by the New Zealanders’ sense of sportsmanship, which can be placed squarely at Mourie’s feet. He showed you could win nicely.
Mourie captained his country in 19 of his 21 Tests, losing just four matches – two to France and two to Australia.
Article by Dai Llewellyn