All Black captain Richie McCaw has described the late Jock Hobbs as one of the key motivators behind his team's World Cup success.
McCaw and former All Black captain and Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder today paid tribute to Hobbs, who died yesterday after a long battle with leukemia.
McCaw said Hobbs was brought in to speak to the team during the tournament because of the huge respect everyone had for him.
"He doesn't need to say much; just having him around was pretty special.
"And putting that aside, he's just a good man to have a beer with and he's a good mate."
McCaw said Hobbs' battle with leukemia put things in perspective for the team during the tournament.
"We had to deal with playing a game while he had to deal with a hell of a lot more."
McCaw said he and Hobbs used to regularly exchange text messages and Hobbs would call him to see how he was doing.
"Not to tell you how to do anything, just to make sure you are alright.
"That's the people you want to be around.
"Sure, he was chairman of the rugby union. But he cared about individuals and that's what I enjoyed."
McCaw recalled receiving his 100th cap for the All Blacks (at the World Cup) from Hobbs as one of the emotional moments of his career.
"I couldn't have thought of a better man to do that."
McCaw also recalled special moments with Hobbs such as sharing a glass of port, which was an All Black loose forward tradition.
He also recalled an occasion in England a few years ago where Hobbs took charge of a tackling bag at a practice and ended up being "flattened".
Hobbs suffered a cracked rib but to his credit did not let on about it to the players.
Blackadder said it was a tragedy to lose someone who had given so much to rugby.
"I can tell you right across this country of ours people will be paying their respects in their own ways and we certainly are."By Jarrod Booker