The Highlanders’ 59-38 pre-season win over the Waratahs at Alexandria was extra special for Tony Gilbert, the former coach of the southern franchise.
The former All Blacks assistant coach was welcomed on to Alexandra’s Molyneaux Park last night, 50 years after becoming one of the first-ever play on it.
Gilbert tried several times to get a game here at the ground while he was coach of the Highlanders, but it never eventuated.
After coaching the Highlanders to their first ever Super Rugby final in 1999, Gilbert was an assistant to Wayne Smith with the All Blacks.
The 75-year-old still does a bit of work with the Highlanders, with Aaron Smith revealing he sits in on leadership meetings.
"He sits in on our leadership meetings, we always ask him at the end if he sees anything, he's really good if we're going over the same stuff or sort of sugar-coating stuff, he's really honest or really got a good yarn or two around things he’s been through," he said.