Former Kiwis captain Tony Coll has died.
Coll, who played 30 Tests for the Kiwis between 1972 and 1982 and captained the national side at the 1977 Rugby League World Cup, died yesterday while out on a bike ride.
Close friend and former Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn told Fairfax the pair were out at the Wilderness Trail near Karoro yesterday morning when he suffered a heart attack.
“I was about 10 feet ahead of him and I heard him yell out Koko, which is my nickname. I knew something was wrong straight away,” Kokshoorn told Fairfax.
“He just slumped over and his bike diverted off the track. We worked on him, but it just wasn’t to be.”
Kokshoorn said their bike rides were a regular activity but yesterday’s was their first in six weeks due to the nationwide lockdown caused by Covid-19.
Coll was “quite excited” to get back on the bike, Kokshoorn added.
“I’m shocked I’ve lost my best friend. He put us on alert after the first [heart attack last year] but he had started to prove us all wrong. He was so tough and so fit.
“He went out a fighter.”
Coll was a second-rower and Kiwi No. 503 who many considered to be one of the last homegrown West Coast Kiwis.
Coll scored 18 tries during his games for the Kiwis, adding a sole goal to his international resume in his final Test against Papua New Guinea in 1982.
After his playing days, he was inducted as a New Zealand Rugby Legend in 2007 also served as a Grey District councillor from 2011 to 2019 under Kokshoorn’s mayoralty.