Multiple All Blacks greats and rugby coaches have honoured former captain Andy Haden at his funeral in Auckland today, remembering him as a great player and even better friend.
Haden, 69, died last week following a long battle with cancer and was given a send off by friends, family and many big names in the rugby community at Eden Park this afternoon.
Among those attending were former All Blacks Buck Shelford and Sir John Kirwan who both credited Haden for his impact both on and off the field.
"He was always a great guy to be around. He was a witty person on and off the field and pulled a lot of jokes on the field as well," Shelford said.
"You create those friendships and when you play rugby together, they grow stronger."
Sir John added Haden had an "incredible" impact on his life, personally.
"He was bigger than [rugby]. He was just an amazing person for me in my younger days and him and [his wife] Trisha were really important for my wife and I.
"I'll miss him dearly."
Another close friend, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson, said he was "quite emotional" when he heard the news.
"One thing that Andy did was connect people," Robertson said.
"He connected them, first with rugby as the vehicle, but then he'd look after you and take care of you and he took care of me."
Fellow coach Ian Foster said Haden's contribution to the All Blacks legacy will forever be part of the team.
"He was a mover and shaker of his time," Foster said.
"He's a rich part of our legacy and there's no doubt he left his mark."
Other All Blacks in attendance at today's funeral included Sir Michael Jones, Eroni Clarke and Sir Bryan Williams, who spoke at the service.