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North Harbour Rugby stalwart and former All Blacks selector Peter Thorburn dies, aged 81

The North Harbour Rugby community is in mourning after announcing former coach and All Blacks selector Peter Thorburn has died, aged 81.

Peter Thorburn coaching USA in 2007. Source: Photosport

Thorburn was the inaugural coach for North Harbour when the union was formed in 1985 and held the position until 1991.

During that time, Thorburn held numerous other roles at North Harbour before progressing to the international game in the 1990s as an All Blacks selector and coach of the New Zealand Sevens team before Sir Gordon Tietjens took over in 1994.

Thorburn also coached the United States at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

North Harbour Rugby confirmed Thorburn’s death in a social media post today.

“North Harbour rugby stalwart, Peter Thorburn has passed away in North Shore Hospital after a short illness,” the union said in the statement.

“He was made a Life Member of the North Harbour Union in 2005, the third person ever to be given this honour. In 2013 Thorburn received the Insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to rugby.”

North Harbour Rugby chairman Gerard van Tilborg added Thorburn was “such an instrumental person in the formation of the Union, but also so respected for more than just his coaching by all rugby people”.

“Peter was always an astute thinker around the game. He was inspirational to a huge number of players and coaches creating many original and creative plays which became a hallmark of North Harbour rugby with high entertainment and player flair.

“He will be well remembered fondly and missed by all who knew him.”