All Black legend Kevin Skinner dies

A legend of New Zealand rugby, Kevin Skinner, has died in Auckland at the age of 86.

Kevin Skinner (far right)

The Dunedin-born prop, who played 20 Tests and 63 games for the All Blacks between 1949 and 1956, passed away last night. 

A national heavyweight boxing champion with a reputation for being one of the great All Black enforcers, Skinner, a no nonsense prop, will forever be remembered for when he came out of retirement to play in the last two Tests of the 1956 series against the touring Springboks.

After props Mark Irwin and Frank McAtamney were injured, Skinner was brought in for the last two Tests and gave the All Blacks a physical edge as they went on to win the series. 

His physical encounters with Springbok props Chris Koch and Jaap Bekker were a major talking point of the tour. 

"It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Kevin Skinner," New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey said.

"Kevin was a much-admired player, regarded by many as one of New Zealand's greatest props, while his role in the All Blacks' first series win over South Africa in 1956 has earned him a place in rugby folklore.

"I am sure that in coming days Kevin will be fondly remembered across New Zealand, in particular by the Otago rugby community, for his performances for the All Blacks as well as his continued contributions to the game as a coach and administrator.    

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time."

Having won the national heavyweight boxing title in 1947, Skinner initially retired from rugby at the end of 1954 after playing against the California All Stars in San Francisco.

Skinner also captained the All Blacks on six occasions and started his provincial career in Otago before switching to Counties Manukau. 

Kevin Skinner, the All Black prop and heavyweight boxer, has died at the age of 86. Source: 1 NEWS

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