Former All Black dies while surfing in Australia

One-test All Black Terry Morrison is remembered as being one of the fastest people to play for...
One-test All Black Terry Morrison is remembered as being one of the fastest people to play for the national team. Photo: NZ Herald/File
Former All Black and national sprint champion Terry Morrison has died while surfing on Christmas Eve.

Morrison (70) died on the Sunshine Coast; where he has lived for several years.

Dubbed the "flying wing", he played four matches for the All Blacks in 1973, including the side's 16-10 loss to England at Eden Park.

New Zealand rugby legend, and former All Blacks and Ponsonby teammate, Sir Bryan Williams said he had been left hugely upset when he learnt earlier this week about his friend's death.

"It's really sad news," Sir Bryan said. "I'm saddened by it.

"We played quite a bit of rugby and socialised together."

As well as representing the All Blacks, Morrison was also a New Zealand sprint champion; with his speed seeing him go down in the record books as one of the quickest players to play for the ABs.

He debuted on the All Blacks' 1973 internal tour of New Zealand, playing three matches, before making his sole test appearance in that year's loss to England.

The news of his mate's death was broken to Sir Bryan by one of Morrison's close friends in the New Zealand athletics community.

"Apparently he had a heart attack while surfing, and they couldn't revive him," Sir Bryan said.

Morrison has lived across the Tasman for more than two decades, including in Sydney while running rugby products company Silver Fern Australia.

Terry Morrison (second from left), watches as England score a try in their win over the All...
Terry Morrison (second from left), watches as England score a try in their win over the All Blacks in his sole test appearance. Photo / NZME
He since relocated to the Sunshine Coast.

A biography previously written by the Ponsonby Rugby Football Club which appears on the allblacks.com website said that he paid the price for a failure by the All Blacks to control a high ball kicked by England, with the tourists recovering the ball to score the winning points.

"That was a time when mistakes were remembered for years," the biography reads.

"Morrison would have been extremely valuable in South Africa in 1976. A wing with express pace is always an asset on the hard grounds and he had shown just that during the club's [Ponsonby's] 1975 tour.

"Scoring several tries simply through speed, including a 75-yard match-winner against Pretoria Police, Morrison impressed local critics who thought him an essential part of the next All Blacks side."

Sir Bryan said while his mate did not have the longest All Black career, what he achieved in his sporting career – both in rugby and athletics – was something to cherish.

"As well as being an All Black he was a New Zealand 200m champion as well," he said.

"When you represent New Zealand in two sports you have certainly achieved a great deal. He was a New Zealand athletics champion and an All Black – that is pretty special."

Sir Bryan said of Morrison's incredible speed: "It was literally just a case of giving him the ball and then chasing after him to see if you could stay [with him].

"He would run around everyone and score at the other end.

"This one game we [Ponsonby] played the Pretoria Police in Pretoria in 1975; it was a really tough match, a really rugged match with lots of fisticuffs and that sort of thing. I remember giving him the ball on our 22m and he just blitzed everyone and scored at the other end under the bar."

The try helped seal the low-scoring game for Ponsonby.

As well as being a top sportsman, Sir Bryan said Morrison was also a great person.

"He was quiet and considered. But there was always a smile on his face and he was always good company," Sir Bryan said.

"We played quite a bit together for about four years and he then went into business and end up in Australia.

"I still bumped in to him from time to time as he was coming back and forth from Australia to New Zealand. We would catch up.

"I am losing a few of my mates at the moment."

Morrison completed his schooling at Matamata College, where he was head boy in 1969.

A biography on him on the school's website states: "Terry has had a varied and exciting career.

"Firstly, he was marketing manager for AHI in NZ and in France and UK. He became a partner in Marketing Consultancy in Australia with NZ Kiwifruit, Dairywhip and other NZ products as major clients.

"His rugby products company Silver Fern Australia supplied all the training and field equipment for the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Currently Terry is semi-retired living on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

"He has lived and worked as well as played rugby in Paris and the UK. Sydney was his home for 22 years though Terry is firmly a 'Proud Kiwi'."

Comments

No mention of his representing Otago University and Otago on the rugby field.

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