Controversial Dunedin-born All Black dies

Keith Murdoch in Australia in 1975. Photo: NZ Herald
Keith Murdoch in Australia in 1975. Photo: NZ Herald
Controversial former All Black Keith Murdoch has died at age 74.

Murdoch, a prop who played 27 matches for the All Blacks from 1970 to 1972 - including three tests - is the first All Black to have ever been sent home from a tour for disciplinary reasons.

His sister confirmed the news of his death to Newshub.

After scoring the only try in the All Blacks' win over Wales in 1972, Murdoch was involved in a fight at a Cardiff hotel, being sent home from the tour by All Blacks management.

He reportedly punched a security guard who refused him entry to a pub.

Instead of heading back to New Zealand, Murdoch instead moved to the Australian outback and was only sighted publicly four times since 1972.

On Friday, members of Otago's Zingari Richmond rugby club, where Murdoch played his club rugby for many years, put their flag at half mast, and posted tributes to the former All Black on Facebook.

Club chairman Stephen Baughan told the Herald that they had received news of Murdoch's passing on Friday morning.

"Some of the club members still have regular contact with his [Murdoch's] family. The exact circumstances are not yet clear," Baughan said.

The former front-rower is reported to have returned home to New Zealand in 1980 and saved a child from drowning in a swimming pool.

It is believed that, by the late 80's, he was back in Australia.

His latest sighting was in 2001 when he was a witness at a coronial inquest into the death of an Aboriginal man in the Northern Territory.

Murdoch had caught an Aboriginal man breaking into his home the night before he disappeared.

In July 2001, Murdoch spoke publicly for the first time in over a decade and proclaimed to the Herald his innocence in the mystery death of 20-year-old Christopher Limerick.

Speaking from the remote Camfield cattle station, about 450km south of Darwin, Murdoch said he was only a witness in the case and that he would return to Tennant Creek to appear at the inquest.

Australian police had been searching for him after he failed to appear when the inquest began a month earlier.

The remains of Limerick were found at the abandoned Nobles Nob opencast mine, with Murdoch allegedly one of the last people to see him alive, after catching him breaking into his home.

No charges were ever laid, due to a lack of evidence.

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