Former All Black coach Bryce Rope dies

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    Former All Black coach Bryce Rope died on Saturday aged 90. He coached the All Blacks in 83-84, winning nine and drawing one out of 12 Tests.

    In 1983, he coached the All blacks to a 4-nil sweep of the Lions, the highlight being a 38-6 hammering in the fourth Test at Eden Park.

    Bryce the player represented Auckland in the 40s and early 50s.

    The ’83 Lions tour is one I fondly remember. I followed it as a child with great interest.

    At 18 matches, it was shorter than previous tours, but really was the last “long” tour to NZ.

    There was a strong All Black team with an experienced pack, with the New Zealand rugby hero Jock Hobbs making his debut.

    The first three Tests were close affairs on the scoreboard, with the All Blacks always seeming to have an edge.

    The second Test in Wellington, remembered as “Loveridge’s Test”, was played through a howling southerly with the halftime score of 9-0 to the All Blacks holding through to the end of the match.

    Loveridge gave the performance of his career, scoring the only try and making fantastic use of a dominant All Black pack.

    The fourth Test is one I well remember.

    I was a 12-year-old who worshipped the All Blacks.

    A completed performance was crowned by Stu Wilson scoring a hat trick in his final All Black game in NZ to break Ian Kirkpatrick’s All Black Test try-scoring record.

    I remember Bryce Rope when I think back to these times, as I was forming my love of the game as a lad, so was saddened to hear the news of his passing.

    Bryce Rope left his mark in our game and as such could take great pride from his achievements in rugby.

    R.I.P Bryce Rope.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • March 6th 2013 @ 4:40am
      Frank O'Keeffe said | March 6th 2013 @ 4:40am | ! Report

      The most underrated coach in All Black history?

      Some of the Australian players credit rope for the noticeable improvement in All Black backplay in the 1980s. It’s not much to brag about since NZ generally beat Australia, but Australia have historically had better backs than NZ. I guess nothing brought that home more than the 1980 and 1982 Bledisloe series, both of which had incredible Aussie backlines – the best in the world, in fact.

      But in 1983 and 1984 it could be argued NZ outplayed Australia in the backs. The Aussie backline had more talent, no doubt. But the All Blacks showed marked improvement. Rope’s main strategy in the 3rd and final Test in 1984 was, according to him, to stop Mark Ella getting the ball to David Campese – to separate them.

      Well the Aussie backs ended-up arguing with each other in that game, so I guess he did a good coaching job!

      Bryce Rope actually tells an interesting story in “The Rise and Rise of Australian Rugby”. Australia had won the first Test in 1984 in comprehensive style. For the second Test they were practicing with the Kangaroos on a rugby field next to them. Wally Lewis and Ray Price came up to him and gave them advice on passing. Rope said it transformed their backline! What a horrible thought!

      By far the greatest compliment I could pay Bryce Rope is that he won a series against Alan Jones… few can say that!

    • March 6th 2013 @ 6:22am
      Johnno said | March 6th 2013 @ 6:22am | ! Report

      Bryce Rope and Alan Jones had some good battles I’m sure. I wonder why this man didn’t get the 1987 head coach job for NZ.

      • March 6th 2013 @ 7:32am
        JeffRo said | March 6th 2013 @ 7:32am | ! Report

        Brian Lochore was appointed coach in 1985, a post he held for 3 years.

      • January 1st 2014 @ 8:04am
        George Bulman said | January 1st 2014 @ 8:04am | ! Report

        Victim of Rugby politics at the time.

    • March 6th 2013 @ 9:42pm
      Jock M said | March 6th 2013 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

      They were the days!

    • March 6th 2013 @ 10:15pm
      Justin2 said | March 6th 2013 @ 10:15pm | ! Report

      A strange lack of posts from our cousins across the ditch here…

      • March 7th 2013 @ 10:49am
        atlas said | March 7th 2013 @ 10:49am | ! Report

        as a moderate rugby follower, cannot remember this man being in the media; in the days coaches coached, not the focus of media attention, exception perhaps in Alan Jones’ case – seeking out media attention.
        No internet, just a few tests a year, no comparison to the scrutiny/coverage they get now.

    • March 6th 2013 @ 11:03pm
      Jerry said | March 6th 2013 @ 11:03pm | ! Report

      He was a bit before my time – I remember the AB’s in his era (the 83 whitewash of the Lions was the first series I really followed) but was too young to have any real memories of the man himself.

    • March 8th 2013 @ 1:00am
      Rumplestiltskin said | March 8th 2013 @ 1:00am | ! Report

      A great man indeed.

      His speed and skill tying knots was legendary. He truly mastered the art of the Lasso and was a terrific hangman

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