Lawrie Knight

Lawrie started his representative career with Auckland in 1970, after being a schoolboy star in the Auckland Grammar School's 1st XV in 1966-67. After playing in the Auckland Ranfurly Shield-winning side of 1974 he moved to Gisborne because of his medical career and it was as a Poverty Bay representative, together with Kirkpatrick, that he played the bulk of his All Black career.

Knight was chosen for Australia in 1974 as the backup lock to John Callesen and Peter Whiting. But he was, even for those years, on the small side for a lock at 1.91m and his pace and athleticism clearly marked him as more a backrow specialist.

But between 1974 and 1976, Andy Leslie, as captain, had first call on the No 8 spot and Ian Kirkpatrick was always going to be preferred ahead of Knight on the flank. The best Knight could achieve in those three years was a regular place in the reserves.


For the 1977 series against the British Isles, Leslie had retired and Knight gained overdue international honours as the logical choice at No 8. He played in all tests and achieved national hero status when he followed through on a kick ahead by Bill Osborne to recover a spilled pass and score the winning try in the fourth test at Eden Park.

Knight made his fourth All Black tour to France in 1977, appearing in both tests, but with Gary Seear shifted to No 8 and with Kirkpatrick not in the touring party he was shifted to the blindside flank.

A trained medical doctor, Knight moved to France soon after to play for Paris University and further his studies. He subsequently moved to South Africa, where he lived and practised medicine in Johannesburg for many years, before returning to live in Auckland in the late 1990s.

Knight's profession won him the nickname "Spock." It also meant he carried an extra burden on all his All Black tours as an unofficial medical adviser, which was perhaps unfair. In those years a fulltime doctor did not travel with international sides.

Knight had a strong family background in rugby. His father, who had also been christened Laurence, but with a spelling variation, played many games for Auckland as a forward in the 1920s and was an All Black in 1925. His brother and uncle of the younger Lawrie Knight, Arthur (better known as "Bubs"), was also an All Black and long-time Auckland representative in the 1920s and 30s.