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Rugby: Former All Black Frank Oliver remembered

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Latest Rugby News | Tuesday March 18 2014 8:22

Frank Oliver in 2000 (Getty Images)

Frank Oliver in 2000 (Getty Images)

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UPDATED 1:07pm: Frank Oliver is being remembered as one of the toughest locks to ever pull on the All Blacks jersey.

Oliver passed away in his sleep on Sunday, aged 65.

He played 17 tests and 43 games in total for the All Blacks between 1976 and 1981 and coached the Hurricanes from 1996 to 1999 and the Blues in 2001.

Oliver's main locking partner in the All Blacks has been left shocked by his death.

Andy Haden says it's too young.

"Seemed indestructable too Frank, he was a colossus in the All Black second row in those days.

"It's hard to conceive."

Haden says one term sums Oliver up.

"Very old school, very uncompromising tough bugger. No fanfare with Frank."

One of the most infamous moments in All Blacks history is being remembered following Oliver's passing

In 1978 Oliver and fellow lock Haden devised a plan to dive in the lineout against Wales and secure a crucial penalty for the All Blacks that saw them escape with a 13-12 victory.

The pair have both been called cheats over the matter and Haden says it was a moment that will stick with him.

"Frank and I practiced it the day before, so there might have been a little bit of collusion there. There's no way we were going to go back to our dressing shed seats and say if only we'd done this, or that."

The New Zealand Rugby community has expressed its sadness at his death.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew says Oliver was one of the hard men of the sport and has a unique place in New Zealand's rugby history.

He played for three different provinces, was an All Black, an All Blacks Captain, was one of New Zealand’s inaugural Super Rugby coaches, and he and his son Anton are one of 18 father and son All Blacks.

Manawatu Rugby boss John Knowles says it's a very sad day for their union, losing one of Manawatu's greatest players,

Knowles is stunned by the news.

"It's a massive shock to Manawatu rugby and to the community here, and they'll be reeling today as the news spreads.

"He has been a huge contributor to Manawatu rugby in his playing days."

Oliver's son Anton is a former All Black captain while his other son James plays for the Manawatu Turbos.

Knowles says: "Certainly his legacy I guess comes through his younger son James who's currently playing for the Turbos.

"He was an outstanding All Black and outstanding player for Manawatu rugby and leaves a huge hole here."

Southland chief exeuctive Brian Hopley says Oliver contributed a lot to its union in the 1970s, while Hurricanes CEO James Te Puni says they are saddened to hear of Oliver's passing as he was their inaugural coach and a key leader in establishing the first Hurricanes team.

Oliver coached the Hurricanes from 1996-1999 and the Blues in 2001.

He also coached Manawatu and the Central Vikings.

Frank Oliver started his playing career in Southland playing 64 times for the Stags, eight times for Otago and 54 for Manawatu.

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