Former All Black Frank Oliver dies
Frank Oliver in 2000 (photosport file)
Former All Blacks captain Frank Oliver has died at his home in Palmerston North at the age of 65.
Oliver, renowned for his tough, no-nonsense approach to rugby as both a player and a coach died suddenly in his bed on Sunday.
The rugged lock played 43 games for the All Blacks, including 17 Tests, from 1976 to 1981.
He was captain in four games, including for the three-Test home series against Australia in 1978 when Graham Mourie was injured.
His 213 first class games included stints with Southland, Otago and Manawatu, where he was part of a powerful provincial side in the early 1980s.
Not the biggest player in his position, his rugged approach made him a widely respected foe.
He made his All Blacks debut on the 1976 tour of South Africa, playing 12 games before winning selection for the fourth and final Test in Johannesburg.
His final Test was also a loss to the Springboks, in the second Test of the controversial 1981 tour in Wellington.
Following his retirement a year later, Oliver moved into coaching to complement his work in forestry.
He coached Manawatu and then the ill-fated Central Vikings merger in 1997-98 as well as being inaugural coach of the Hurricanes in Super Rugby from 1996-99. He later coached the Blues for one season in 2001.
His son Anton Oliver played 56 Tests at hooker for the All Blacks, including 10 as captain in 2001.
Frank Oliver lived the last 34 years of his live in Manawatu and was still running a sawmill business on the outskirts of Palmerston North.