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New Zealand Rugby mourns the passing of John Hotop

New Zealand’s rugby community is mourning the loss of former All Black John Hotop who passed away earlier this week in Hamilton, aged 85.
John Hotop was born on 7 December 1929 in Alexandra, Central Otago. A first five-eighth who could also cover midfield back, Hotop played for four different Provincial Unions and made his All Blacks debut in 1952 at Lancaster Park against Australia.

"It is with sadness that we mark the passing of John Hotop," said New Zealand Rugby Chairman Brent Impey.

"I am sure that this week and in coming days John will be fondly remembered across New Zealand, in particular by the many rugby communities of which he was a part, for his performances for the All Blacks and New Zealand Universities and his contribution to rugby. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time."

Hotop began playing first class rugby in 1948 and quickly attracted national attention. In 1950 he was selected for North Island Universities and then New Zealand Universities, playing three seasons with that team. His All Blacks debut followed in 1952. He played two Tests that year, against Australia and scored a try and dropped goal. Injury kept him out of the 1953/54 tour of the UK, France and North America, but he returned for one Test against Australia in 1955.

Hotop’s training and chosen career as a farmer took him around New Zealand and he was selected for five different Provincial Unions, playing for four of them. He made his provincial rugby debut for the Bush Union as a teenager and while studying at Massey University played for Manawatu, including the combined Manawatu-Horowhenua side against the touring British and Irish Lions side in 1950. His studies took him back south, to Lincoln University where he played for Canterbury and made his debut for the All Blacks in 1952. He later played for Otago, including a match against the touring Springboks in 1956. He had been selected for Southland in 1949 but was unable to play due to injury.

It was injuries that eventually led to him ending his playing career. Upon hanging up his boots, Hotop remained involved with rugby as a coach, including being a selector-coach of Canterbury Country and coaching the senior Hamilton Old Boys side.

Hotop received his All Blacks cap in Christchurch in 2009, when New Zealand Rugby retrospectively presented caps to All Blacks who had made their Test debuts between 1946 and 1996.

For more information, view his profile on