Former All Black lock Andy Haden has died aged 69 following a battle with cancer.

Former All Blacks coach John Hart confirmed the death.

Hart said Haden was surrounded by his family when he died at 7am on Wednesday morning.

“It’s tragic for his family and everyone in the game,” Hart said.

Born in Whanganui, Haden played a total of 117 matches, including 41 tests, for the All Blacks over 13 years from 1972.

He debuted against the 1977 Lions, a series made more tense by the fact the previous tour had seen the All Blacks beaten for the first time by the Lions.

Haden was a part of a strong All Black side which beat the touring Springboks in 1981, a tour better known for protests against the match up going ahead.

He played for Auckland, a team growing towards its heyday, and Ponsonby club. His All Black biography says he was part of the Ponsonby team which won the Gallaher Shield for Auckland club rugby, seven times – “a figure equalled only of Peter Fatialofa of post-war players”.

Haden was a lineout expert at a time when rugby lineouts were more a lottery than today, with controlled lifting. And he was cunning.

It was exemplified by his infamous “dive” out of the lineout – pretending to have been pushed – during the 1978 test against Wales.

RNZ

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