18 Mar 2014

Late Frank Oliver commanded respect

10:36 pm on 18 March 2014

Former All Black captain Frank Oliver has been remembered as a tough player who commanded respect. He died early on Sunday morning aged 65, but the cause of his death is not yet known.

After making his debut against South Africa in 1976, Oliver played 43 games for the All Blacks including 17 tests and captained the side four times.

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He was born in Dunedin and played 64 games for Southland, eight for Otago and 54 for Manawatu. His son Anton Oliver also captained the All Blacks.

Oliver was the Hurricanes' inaugural coach from 1996 to 1999 before coaching the Blues in 2001.

His former All Black locking partner, Andy Haden, says Oliver was a popular leader.

"Captaincy wasn't anything other than the regular Frank Oliver day; just get on with the job. He demanded respect and commanded respect because of how he conducted himself. He was just very down to earth."

Haden says they complemented each other quite well.

"I had a bit of jumping ability at lineout time and he had the pushing power. He was a pretty tough bugger, old Frank, he was uncompromising. A good man to have on your side when there was a bit of hard yakka to be done. He was no shirker, old Frank."