Mourners pay tribute to ex All Black Hobbs

Last updated 13:58 18/03/2012

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All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has paid tribute to rugby legend Jock Hobbs at his funeral service in Wellington.

McCaw said if Hobbs had one fault it was that he worried too much, but that was only because he cared so much.

McCaw spoke of his talents in being an administrator and said there were not many guys who could sit down and chew the fat with the team but Hobbs always fitted in.

He said Hobbs' presence after a loss meant a lot to the boys. "Just the presence of the man really, just having him there was something special. I think we'd all agree we have lost a mate, just a general good bugger."

Daughters Isabelle and Penelope Hobbs have read out an emotional poem in tribute to their father.

Hobbs' brother Peter addressed the church saying for most of his adult life he was mistaken for his more famous big brother though he did not share his talent with rugby.

Hospital staff told family Jock was the sickest man in lower north island last week, which made his family think, "there you go again Jock, being the best at everything."

Peter said Jock was the bravest man he knew and gave everything his all in life. "Jock was go hard or go home - usually to sleep because he loved to sleep."

He said family and friends would miss him desperately.

About 800 people are in attendance at the funeral.

The former All Black and New Zealand Rugby Union chairman died in Wellington Hospital this week, aged 52, after a long battle with leukaemia.

The service is being held at Old St Paul's church on Mulgrave Street.

Pallbearers were to include NZRU chief executive Steve Tew and former All Black Robbie Deans.

Hobbs was an All Black captain, then off-the-field helped stop the All Blacks becoming a rebel professional team in the mid-1990s, and a decade later secured the World Cup.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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