Dr Tom Johnson, 75, and recently retired, played for Hawke's Bay and was an All Blacks trialist, a leading loose forward at provincial level in the 1960s. He chaired the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union in 1972 and, upon transfer to Wellington with Europa Oil, served on the council of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU – renamed the New Zealand Rugby Union, NZRU, in 2006) from 1973 to 1986. Tom drove a number of coaching and development initiatives that helped New Zealand maintain a pre-eminent position in the global game, leading to arguably his most important role: writing the original position paper on the need for a Rugby World Cup. At one stage, it was out-voted 17–1. However, a year later, he overcame the opposition to achieve unanimous support. Today, Tom lives in Napier.
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