(Reuters) – Former All Blacks captain Wayne “Buck” Shelford was awarded a knighthood in New Zealand’s honours list published on Monday.
Making his debut in 1985, Shelford played 48 games for New Zealand, including 22 tests, and captained the team on 31 occasions before being controversially axed in 1990.
The 63-year-old, who is credited with revitalising the performance of the All Blacks’ traditional “haka”, was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to rugby and the community.
“It’s a great accolade, a great honour,” Shelford, part of the All Blacks’ 1987 World Cup-winning squad, said.
“It’s one of those things you never think will happen – I’d never thought about it before.
“I’ll wear it with pride for the family and all the organisations I work with. They’ll carry that with them because they’re my biggest supporters.”
Shelford was also part of the New Zealand team which lost 16-3 to France in a match in 1986 that became known as the “Battle of Nantes” for its brutality.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Hogue)