Rugby stalwart and businessman dies

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 18/09/2013

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Former Southland rugby representative and South Canterbury coach Roger Ottrey Jackman has died suddenly, aged 75.

Many mourners from around the South Island farewelled Mr Jackman last Friday in Timaru.

Born in Southland, he spent his first 30 years farming on two separate properties at Fairfax, and later at Glenelg, near Mossburn.

Mr Jackman and his wife, Merle, moved to Timaru in January 1968 and built the fishing boat Challenge.

They stayed in the venture for four years before setting up business on a pleasure boat in the Marlborough Sounds.

They also operated a similar craft at Lyttelton.

Mr Jackman also worked for Cooper Animal Health before his retirement at 65.

Mr Jackman was a passionate rugby man. Playing, coaching, watching and talking rugby took up many hours of his busy life.

He represented Southland on 27 occasions as a prop, when Southland front rows were feared by all including international teams.

Mr Jackman was a stalwart of his club Otautau and being coached by former All Black Ron Ward obviously stood him in good stead for his transition into coaching.

Mr Jackman joined the Old Boys Club after arriving in Timaru and played four games for them in 1968, scoring a try in his last appearance.

However, coaching was where he was to make his name in South Canterbury rugby.

He took over his role with the Old Boys team in 1973 and had four years of success.

Altogether, he guided them on 64 occasions, winning 50, drawing four and losing 10.

The team in 1974 went 26 games undefeated, arguably a New Zealand record at the time.

Old Boys won the Skinner Cup that year and under Mr Jackman and Barry McLauchlan jointly held the cup with Temuka in 1976.

The South Canterbury representative team was his next step.

Mr Jackman coached with Ray Vercoe and Digger Fitzgerald in 1977 and 1978, then with Jim Dawson in 1979 and had a final stint with Ray Vercoe in 1981.

The 1977 team had great success, playing 14 games and winning 12 and went into the record books as being the most successful in South Canterbury rugby history at the time.

Not frightened to call a spade a spade he was able to instil in his forward pack that winning up front meant the winning of the game.

His pack spent hours practising scrums and line-out drills.

The proud Southlander and loyal South Cantabrian will be sadly missed both in business and sport.

Mr Jackman is survived by his wife, Merle, daughters Jo-Anne and Kate and son Tom, along with six grandchildren.

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- The Timaru Herald

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