Gordon Hunter dies

2002-03-09 11:18

Dunedin - Former All Black rugby selector and assistant coach Gordon Hunter, aged 52, died in Dunedin on Saturday after a long battle with cancer.

He was a selector when John Hart was coach from 1996-99 and assistant coach in 1996-97.

Earlier, he coached Otago and the Highlanders and was the Blues coach when ill-health forced him leave the job last year.

Hunter was coach of the Highlanders in the inaugural Super 12 year, 1996, and coached the Blues in 2000.

He was Laurie Mains' assistant when Otago won the NPC in 1991 and coached the province for the next four years when Mains was the All Blacks coach.

Under Hunter Otago reached the NPC final in 1992, 1993 and 1995 and the semifinals in 1994.

During his era Otago played attractive rugby.

Hunter first became involved with top-level rugby after playing two games on the wing for Otago under former All Black coach Eric Watson in 1969.

He started coaching as a player-coach for Ravensbourne and was in charge when that club achieved premier ranks in 1984.

Hunter then became the Otago assistant coach under Mains, but went back to club rugby and coached University A to two title wins in 1987-88 and Dunedin in 1990.

Hunter, who also represented Otago at athletics, grew up in Southland was a member of the Southland Boys' High School first 15 before shifting to Dunedin.

He worked as a detective in Dunedin for 23 years before taking early retirement to become a professional rugby coach.

Hunter lost an eye in a home workshop accident and became known locally as the one-eyed detective.

He is survived by his wife Jenni and daughters Rachel and Andrea. - Sapa