28 Apr 2012

Rugby fraternity pays tribute to Fred Allen

5:51 pm on 28 April 2012

The rugby fraternity has been paying homage to legendary All Black coach and player Sir Fred Allen who died on Saturday aged 92.

Nicknamed the 'Needle', he was a legendary coach of Auckland and the All Blacks.

He was All Black captain from 1947 to 1949, recognised as one of the greatest backs of the post-World War II players. He was coach from 1966 to 1968 - with not a single loss under his tenure.

He was inducted into both the New Zealand and the International Rugby Halls of Fame, and was knighted in 2010 for his services to rugby.

Sir Colin Meads says the knighthood was well deserved and should have come decades earlier.

New Zealand Rugby Union chair Mike Eagle says Sir Fred represented a great era of success for the All Blacks both as a player and as a coach.

All Blacks coach Steven Hansen says Sir Fred's achievements were legendary, and he continued to be a great person to talk football with.

The New Zealand Super Rugby teams still to play this weekend will wear black armbands in honour of Sir Fred.

Inspiring, fearsome, highly successful

Sir Fred made his name as a five-eighth in the Kiwi Army rugby team of 1945 and went on to captain the All Blacks from 1947 - 1949.

He then became an inspiring, fearsome and highly successful coach, guiding Auckland to a then-record 25 defences of the Ranfurly Shield in the early 1960s.

Sir Fred coached the All Blacks in 37 matches between 1966 - 1988. They were unbeaten, with 36 wins and one draw, 14 of them Tests.

Sir Fred played 21 games for New Zealand, all of them as captain, including six Tests.

He was born in Oamaru in February 1920 and served in World War Two as a lieutenant in the 27th and 30th Battalions.

He also played for Services rugby teams, both in New Zealand and overseas as well as representing Wellington, Waikato and Auckland.

He had leukemia and had shifted into permanent care in Orewa, north of Auckland. He remained active until very recently, and even on Anzac Day attended a ceremony at the Fred Allen memorial walk in Silverdale.