The rugby community in New Zealand is in morning on Tuesday following the news that former All Black prop Sandy McNicol has passed away at the age of 72.
According to Rugby Heaven, McNicol, who suffered from dementia, took his own life on April 20th in Noosa, Australia.
Best known for his uncompromising stance against the South African tour of New Zealand in 1973, McNicol withdrew his availability on moral grounds. It was a tour that divided the country and McNicol’s stand against apartheid saw him sacrifice his international career for his beliefs.
Following the announcement of his passing, former colleague at French side Tarbes and All Black great Andy Haden, shared some fond memories of his late friend.
“Hours of entertainment, always with his wicked sense of humour and spiced with his peerless command of the English language.
“Our paths didn’t cross very often after those years in France but my thoughts wandered back to Sandy quite often and I couldn’t conjure up a picture of him in my mind without it bringing a smile to my face. We shared his time as an All Black. I remember him joining the ’72 / ’73 Tour in the UK as a replacement prop and quickly making his mark.”
New Zealand rugby chair Brent Impey also paid tribute to McNicol, saying,
“Sandy will be fondly remembered around New Zealand, and in particular by the Wanganui and Services rugby communities of which he was a member.
“He made an important contribution to rugby and when playing in France was an ambassador and pioneer for New Zealand players. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”
May he rest in peace.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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