Double All Black Brian McKechnie’s international rugby and cricket careers may not have been lengthy – but they were eventful. He talked to Neil Reid about the good and bad times.
When Brian McKechnie was draining a few pints on a Cardiff night, little did he know that within 24 hours he would be deemed a hero in New Zealand – and a heart-breaker throughout Wales.
It was the eve of the 1978 test with Wales at Cardiff Arms Park – one of four matches the All Blacks would ultimately win on their way to recording their historic first Grand Slam - and as the clock headed to midnight, McKechnie wasn’t to feature in the game.
The proud Southlander – who was also three years into his international cricket career which would see him at the 1975 and 1979 Cricket World Cups – had been left out of the match-day squad for the Welsh test.
Canterbury’s Clive Currie was set to start the match at fullback, with Manawatu halfback Mark Donaldson on the bench for backline cover.
As the test team prepared in the privacy of their rooms the night before the test, McKechnie headed to the bar.
As the beers were being enjoyed, McKechnie was visited by All Black captain Graham Mourie who told him cryptically: “Just take it easy, you might be playing tomorrow”.
Mourie’s comment didn’t put McKechnie off enjoying a couple of more beers.
But the next morning coach Jack Gleeson paid him a visit.
"Jack Gleeson came into the hotel room at 9.30 or 10am and said, ‘You are in the reserves because Mark Donaldson is out’,” McKechnie said.
Continue this story in our Apr/May issue.
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