New Zealand Rugby mourns the passing of former All Black Doug Rollerson
allblacks.com 04 May 2017 allblacks.com
Douglas Leslie Rollerson was born on 14 May 1953 in Papakura. A skilled athlete, who excelled in several sporting disciplines and showed his versatility throughout the backline in rugby, Rollerson made his All Blacks debut in 1976 against Uruguay. He went on to play 24 matches, including eight Tests. He later served as Chief Executive of North Harbour Rugby.
"We are all deeply saddened by the news of Doug Rollerson's passing," said New Zealand Rugby Chair Brent Impey.
"Doug made a big contribution to rugby as both a player and administrator, and had a lot of friends in the game. He will be warmly remembered by many around New Zealand and overseas, including the Manawatu, Universities and North Harbour rugby communities he was part of for a long time. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time."
Rollerson first played rugby at a young age and returned to the sport while at Wesley College. He was a classy, energetic player who appeared mostly at first five-eighth or fullback for the All Blacks but could ably cover most backline positions and in his younger days spent time in the front row.
While at school, he represented Counties in schools teams for rugby, cricket, tennis and athletics. In 1972, he ventured south to Massey University in Palmerston North, where he quickly earned provincial selection for Manawatu. He would go on to play 91 games in the green and white jersey. In 1973, Rollerson was selected for New Zealand Universities for the first time and he made the Junior All Blacks side in 1974.
After an All Blacks trial in 1975, he earned selection the following year and played seven matches on the 1976 tour of South America. Injury in 1977 while playing for Manawhenua kept Rollerson out of rugby in 1978 and once recovered, he played rugby in the USA and England. He was called up again for the All Blacks in 1980 and played his first Test against Wales in November that year. A big season in 1981 followed, including three Tests against the touring Springboks, before he played his final match in the black jersey against France in November.
Rollerson's association with New Zealand Universities was long-standing; he was selected in 1973 and 1974, then again in 1976 and 1977, when he captained the side in their historic victory over the British & Irish Lions.
After playing his last rugby game, he switched to rugby league and joined the North Sydney club. He later returned to rugby and was appointed as the Chief Executive of North Harbour Rugby in 1997 through to 2004.
Doug Rollerson passed away in Auckland on Wednesday 3 May. He was 63 years old.
For more information, view his profile on allblacks.com.