Steve Hansen thanks Andy Leslie for his support after infamous French loss
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had a special reason to be pleased to induct Andy Leslie as a Hutt Valley sporting Legend.
Hansen told the audience at the Hutt Valley Sports Awards on Thursday night that Leslie had been a loyal supporter after the shock 2007 World Cup loss to France in Cardiff.
At that time Leslie was President of the New Zealand Rugby Union and Hansen said his support during such a difficult time was greatly appreciated.
Leslie was not the only Petone sportsperson to feature in the awards.
Club stalwart Mike Woollett was a finalist in the volunteer category and his son Rory was the Young Volunteer of the Year.
It was Leslie, however, who was the star of the show.
His induction was well received and it was fitting that the All Blacks coach oversaw proceedings.
Playing for Petone, Leslie won an impressive eight Jubilee Cups.
His sons Marty and John both played international rugby and Hansen said it was a rare achievement to have a father and son (Marty) play over 100 games for the same club.
A highly athletic No 8 who always performed well for Wellington, Leslie changed the way the game was played.
Leslie said it was a "bit overwhelming" to receive such an honour.
He paid tribute to his father, also called Andy, who was a life member of the Petone Football Club, and all the coaches he had over the years.
As a softballer Leslie had been lucky to be mentored by Les Herbert and Bill Massey before being picked to play for New Zealand.
In his 20 years with the club, Petone lost fewer than 20 games, a record only made possible by those around him.
"The reason I am standing here is I played with some great players and I was coached by great coaches."
Asked how he had the time to play rugby, softball, waterpolo and basketball, he had an honest answer.
"I went to school to eat my lunch and play sport. I got 55 in School Cert, 11 for each subject."
Asked how he predicted the Lions would go against the All Blacks, he predicted team unity would be a major problem. He said he had "tremendous faith" in Hansen and he suggested he look at Taita College product Brad Shields to face the visitors next month.
* Played 144 games for Wellington, captaining them to a win in the Ranfurly Shield in 1974.
* His father played professional soccer in Scotland. Playing for Petone he played in two Chatham Cup winning teams and coached a third.
* Played 34 games for the All Blacks, 33 as captain.
* In 2001 he became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.