The New Zealand Rugby League has expressed its sadness and extended its sympathies to former Kiwi coach Brian McClennan and his family following the tragic loss of ex-New Zealand international Mike McClennan.
McClennan’s body was found near Hatfields Beach last night after he had gone missing from a rest home in Orewa last Wednesday.
“This is terribly sad for Brian and the McClennan family as well as our rugby league community,” said New Zealand Rugby League CEO Greg Peters.
“We are all feeling for the family at this time, especially in a week when the Kiwis are about to play the Kangaroos.
“Mike had the deepest passion for rugby league. He was a proud Kiwi international and went on to achieve so much as a coach both in New Zealand and in England.
“We pass on our deepest sympathies.”
McClennan’s only Test for the Kiwis was one of the greatest in New Zealand’s history – the stunning 24-3 win over Australia at Carlaw Park in 1971.
He then made the history-making tour to Great Britain and France later that year when the Kiwis won both Test series in England and France.
The outspoken McClennan (Kiwi #488) went on to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and innovative coaches.
He dominated the Auckland club scene in the 1980s achieving multiple Fox Memorial premiership triumphs with the Mount Albert Lions and Northcote Tigers before coaching St Helens in England from 1990-1993.
As well as being an assistant Kiwi coach during Graham Lowe’s reign in the 1980s, McClennan coached Tonga at the 1995 Rugby League World Cup when the Tongans came within one point of stunning the Kiwis.