Southland rugby stalwart honoured

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2012
Ray Harper
Getty
RECOGNISED: Rugby Southland life member Ray Harper holds the Steinlager Salver.

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Rugby Southland life member Ray Harper joined an elite group of the game's top names on Friday night when he was presented with the Steinlager Salver award at the New Zealand Rugby Union annual awards dinner in Auckland.

The silver salver recognises exceptional contributions to New Zealand rugby and in recent years has been presented to the likes of Sir Brian Lochore, Sir Fred Allen and Jock Hobbs.

Harper, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, has been a stalwart of the Southland union as a player, coach and administrator.

The 84-year-old served the Southland rugby administration for 24 years, becoming a life member.

He represented Southland on the NZRFU Council for 13 years from 1974, during a time when the council faced challenging issues, including the 1981 Springbok tour.

Harper had a hand in planning the Rugby World Cup in 1987 and in between his council commitments, he managed the Junior All Blacks on three tours, as well as the All Blacks on tours to Australia and Wales in 1980.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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