Morgan Piek – Former All Black captain, Michael James “Jock” Bowie Hobbs CNZM (New Zealand Order of Merit) sadly passed away this morning after a long battle with Leukaemia in Wellington, New Zealand.
Hobbs played a total of 21 Tests for the All Blacks between 1983 and 1986, of which four were as captain. Hobbs scored four times for the All Blacks. In recent times Hobbs was heavily involved in the administration of the game and between 2002 and 2010 he served as the Chairman of the New Zealand Rugby Union before stepping down due to illness.
Born in Christchurch on 15 February 1960, Hobbs was schooled at Christ’s College where he played 1St XV Rugby. He played all his Rugby at flank for Canterbury and Canterbury based teams. 1983 Saw him being selected for All Black in their series against the British and Irish Lions, he was selected as a replacement for Graham Mourie.
In late 1984 he was promoted to captain for the All Blacks tour to Fiji when Andy Dalton was unavailable. In 1985 he again replaced Any Dalton who unavailable for their tout to Argentina. In 1986 he came to South Africa as part of the Cavaliers tour before retiring from Rugby in 1987 after a succession of concussions.
In 2005 Hobbs lead New Zealand to a successful bid to host the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. In the same year he was named as the Herald’s New Zealander of the Year.
Jock is the longest serving Chairman in NZRU history and his service to the game was recognized at the 2011 IRB and Steinlager Rugby awards where he received the Vernon Pugh award for Distinguished service and the Steinlager Salver award respectively.
Arguably, Jock Hobbs proudest moment would have been witnessing his beloved All Blacks winning the Webb Ellis Trophy in New Zealand last. Especially considering that Hobbs devoted the latter part of his life to hosting a successful tournament. It was the second time the All blacks won the World Cup, the previous occasion was in 1987 in New Zealand as well.
Hobbs was considered by many to a be National Treasure and Icon of New Zealand and All Blacks Rugby. He passing is not just a sad loss to New Zealand, but it’s a sad loss for the Rugby World. He will always be remembered for his devotion and dedication the “Our Beautiful Game”.
Rest in Peace Uncle Jock.