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Ed Hillary Most Revered NZer Among 2004 All Blacks

22 July, 2004

Ed Hillary Most Revered New Zealander Among 2004 All Blacks

When it comes to respect, the 2004 All Blacks rate most highly people who have really pushed the boundaries.

In the third wave of the All Blacks Air New Zealand Insight Survey published today, Sir Edmund Hillary is the New Zealander current All Blacks respect the most, closely followed by endurance athlete Steve Gurney.

Overcoming adversity, being driven to succeed and a never-say-die attitude are the qualities demonstrated by both men that resonated most strongly with this year's All Blacks team.

The latest Insight report, commissioned by team sponsor Air New Zealand, examines the strongest influences on the careers of the 2004 All Blacks and takes a look at how they spend their leisure time.

Kees Meeuws salutes Sir Ed for "all the things he did after Everest" while Justin Marshall respects Steve Gurney for his "never say die" attitude.

On the water, Sir Peter Blake was applauded as a proud Kiwi who endured and triumphed in his field.

On a personal level the strength of family support is evident when players were asked to name the person who had most influenced their rugby career. More than 40 percent of players named their father as having most influenced their rugby career.

Mums share the limelight in most instances for helping inspire self-belief and "unconditional support" while the influence of siblings is strong for many players. One in five All Blacks pay tribute to the role of brothers for advice, support and no holds barred analysis of their game.

When it came to naming the greatest All Black in history a quarter of current players said there were too many to choose just one. Comments ranged from "every era has its greats" to "everyone who's ever worn the (All Black) jersey".

Colin Meads scored more 'votes' than any other individual with other players singled out as the greatest in history including Sir Brian Lochore, Wayne Shelford for representing everything the All Blacks are about, John Kirwan, Michael Jones, Zinzan Brooke, George Nepia and Christian Cullen.

On the wider sports field, when asked who was New Zealand's greatest sportsperson, Sir Richard Hadlee won support from one in five All Blacks and praise as a "genuine dominator" and a "true professional".

Rob Waddell, Sir Peter Blake, Dame Susan Devoy, John Walker, world champion shearer David Fagan and Sir Bob Charles were all praised for consistency, leadership and remaining at the top for long periods of time.

Away from rugby, the Survey questioned players about their favourite leisure activities.

Perhaps not surprisingly for an island nation watersports came out tops with almost half the team. Fishing was the number one aquatic passion followed by boating, diving and surfing.

The great outdoors beckons most strongly for one in five All Blacks who love hunting while the more gentle pursuit of golf was the second most popular pastime followed by a third of players.

ENDS

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