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Tributes flow for Jock Hobbs

Tributes flow for Jock Hobbs

SEVERAL RUGBY personalities have paid tribute to former All Blacks captain and New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Jock Hobbs after he passed away following a long battle with leukaemia.

The 52-year-old died in Wellington Hospital surrounded by his family yesterday afternoon.

The NZRU confirmed the news on behalf of them, with chairman Mike Eagle expressing his condolences.

“It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the passing of an incredible New Zealander,” he says. 

“Our hearts and love go out to Jock’s wife Nicky, his children Emily, Michael, Penny and Isabelle, as well as his wider family.

“New Zealand has lost an inspirational leader with an incredible passion for the game of rugby and the part it plays in our lives.

“I know many New Zealanders will join us in expressing their sorrow at his passing.”

Adds NZRU chief executive Steve Tew: “Rugby has lost a great friend.  We will all miss his integrity, dogged determination and incredible sense of justice.”

Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill says Hobbs had a tremendous passion for the game and was a great friend of the ARU.

“He will be greatly missed,” he says.

International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset says Hobbs was a great ambassador to the game as both a player and administrator.

“Jock’s contribution to New Zealand rugby as a player and chairman of the New Zealand Rugby Union and to world rugby as an IRB council member has been exceptional.”

Hobbs played 21 tests for the All Blacks, including four as captain, between 1983 and 1986 before being forced to retire prematurely due to concussion.

A qualified lawyer, he ushered in professionalism, dismantling a rival competition's bid for an international competition in 1995 with a mixture of patience and steel.

Hobbs served as NZRU chairman between 2002 and 2010, playing a key role in securing the 2011 Rugby World Cup hosting rights, before being forced to step down from the role due to his health concerns.

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