28 Apr 2012

The Needle is no more

4:40 pm on 28 April 2012

The oldest living All Black, Sir Fred Allen, has died. He was 92.

Known as the Needle, Sir Fred was a former captain and never lost a game as All Blacks coach. His All Blacks were unbeaten in 37 games from 1966 to 1968, 14 of them tests.

Sir Fred played 21 games for New Zealand, all of them as captain, including six tests, and was coach of Auckland from 1957 to 1963 when the province established a new Ranfurly Shield record tenure of 25 matches.

He also represented Auckland, Waikato and Wellington.

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

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

Sir Fred was born in Oamaru in 1920 and served in World War II as a lieutenant in the 27th and 30th Battalions.

He had leukemia and had shifted into permanent care in Orewa, north of Auckland.

His wife Norma died in 2009. He is survived by his daughter Marianne and granddaughters Ines and Katia.