Jock Hobbs dies

Former All Black captain and New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Jock Hobbs has died today following a battle with leukaemia, his family has confirmed.

Michael James Bowie (Jock) Hobbs (52) - experienced the best of times and the worst of times - the former in the rugby world and the latter in his dabblings in the finance world.

He was credited with being the reason New Zealand won hosting rights to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

A lawyer, Mr Hobbs played 21 tests as a flanker for the All Blacks from 1983-86 with four tests as captain.

He played in the first XV at Christ’s College in Christchurch, and was a regular first choice for Canterbury from the 1981 season onwards, playing in the great Canterbury Ranfurly Shield era that followed.  His test debut was in 1983 against the British and Irish Lions.

Mr Hobbs was All Black captain on the short tour of Fiji in 1984 when Andy Dalton was unavailable.  He took part in the 1986 Cavaliers tour to South Africa, before retiring in 1987 after a succession of concussions, becominga businessman.

Between 2002 and 2010 he was chairman of the New Zealand Rugby Union, before standing down due to illness. He was the longest serving chairman in NZRU history.

He was a director of finance firm Strategic Finance, which went into receivership in March 2010.  The Financial Markets Authority is investigating Strategic Finance.

As NZRU chairman, he led the New Zealand delegation to Dublin in November 2005 which secured the hosting rights to last year's Rugby World Cup.

Leukemia necessitated intensive chemotherapy, requiring him to step down from his roles as chairman of the NZRU and Rugby New Zealand last May. 2010 was the worst financial year on record for the NZRU.

Mr Hobbs’ son Michael plays for the Blues Super Rugby team, and flew back from South Africa to be by his ailing father’s side. 

His father Mike Hobbs was a long-time district court judge who stepped down last August as chairman of the real estate agents disciplinary tribunal.

Former All Black coach John Hart said all the accolades for the World Cup bid win belonged to Mr Hobbs.

"When you think back to where we were in the rugby fraternity in 2003, after losing the rights, we were in disarray. Jock Hobbs and Chris Moller have rebuilt New Zealand's global reputation."

Mr Hobbs appeared at Eden Park during the RWC to present test centurion silver caps to Richie McCaw and Mils Muliaina.

The Kiwi legend leaves a legacy both of rugby success and some loose financial strings in the business world still to be unraveled.

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