Death of an Iron Man

All Black prop Johnny Simpson, who played 33 matches including nine Tests for New Zealand in the late 1940s, has died in Wellington, aged 88. Know as the “Iron Man” for his strength and resilience, Simpson was a member of the famous New Zealand Army rugby team who toured Britain immediately after the Second World War, playing in 18 of their 33 matches, including those against England, Wales and Scotland which they won. He first played for the All Blacks on their 1947 tour to Australia and toured South Africa with the 1949 team, playing in all four tests. The great All Black fullback Bob Scott once said of Simpson: “I came to respect J G Simpson as the finest forward I ever played with. In Kiwi days he was still a bit raw and inclined to look for trouble, but with his great strength and determination he was obviously on his way”. In 1964 Simpson became proprietor of the Paraparaumu Hotel and was a president of the Wellington Hotel Association. He was also an accomplished bowler, winning centre titles in both Kapiti and Wellington. He served on the New Zealand Bowls Association council and was its president in 1991-92.

Johnny Simpson: 18 March 1922 – 17 November 2010

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