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All Blacks great Kevin Skinner dies at age 86

MARC HINTON
Last updated 14:53 21/07/2014
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Don Clarke talks about Kevin Skinner's infamous fight with Jaap Bekker in the third test of the historic 1956 Springbok tour of New Zealand.

Kevin Skinner
Press Archives HISTORIC COLLECTION
LEGEND DIES: Former All Blacks hard man and one-time New Zealand heavyweight champion Kevin Skinner, pictured in 1956, died this week.
Kevin Skinner
Fairfax NZ
TOUGH NUT: Kevin Skinner, pictured with Sonny Bill Williams in 2012, shared boxing and rugby links with the All Black.

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Legendary All Black prop Kevin Skinner has died in Auckland, aged 86.

Skinner died over the weekend, a New Zealand Rugby spokesman confirmed today.

He played 20 tests and 63 games all told for the All Blacks during an international career that spanned 1949 to 1956.

He was a hard-nosed, durable and tough prop who had his finest moments in the historic 1956 series against South Africa when he came out of retirement for the last two tests and was credited with the being the man who regained the physical edge for the All Blacks.

The All Blacks had split the opening two tests, in Dunedin and Wellington, but with Skinner back in the fold won the third test 17-10 in Christchurch and the last 11-5 in Auckland.

Skinner was also renowned for his boxing prowess, and was the 1947 New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion.

He started his provincial rugby career in Otago and finished it in Counties. He lived the later years of his life in Auckland.

Standing 1.83m and weighing 97kg in his prime, Skinner was considered one of the very best props New Zealand has produced. He was certainly one of the most intimidating.

Today All Black and Kiwi Sonny Bill Williams, who shared the rugby-boxing link with Skinner, tweeted about the death of the legend he took great delight in meeting in 2012.

"Kevin Skinner passed away today. Not just a great All Black but a great man. My thoughts go out to his wife and family. RIP brother," Williams said.

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