Former All Blacks captain and coach Fred Allen has died at the age of 92, the New Zealand Rugby Union said on Saturday.
Allen, nicknamed "The Needle" for his sharp mind and forthright nature, came to prominence with the 2nd NZEF Army team that toured Britain at the conclusion of World War Two before he was named captain of the All Blacks in 1946.
A gifted inside back, equally comfortable at flyhalf or inside centre, Allen led the All Blacks in all 21 games he played for the team, six of which were tests.
Allen, who acted as a virtual player/coach on his final All Blacks tour to South Africa in 1949 retired afterwards and turned to coaching, guiding provincial side Auckland from 1957-63 before he became an All Blacks selector in 1964.
He took over the coaching role from 1966-68 and guided the team, widely regarded as one of the best All Blacks sides to play the game, to a run of 14 unbeaten test matches.
"Fred is one of the most treasured legends in rugby," NZRU chairman Mike Eagle said in a statement.
"He represented a great era of success for the All Blacks both as a player and as an unbeaten coach during his tenure.
"His unfailing dedication to rugby and his continuing contribution to the game, well after his own playing and coaching days, secures his place in our history books as one of the great legends of the game."
Allen was inducted into the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame in 2005 and received a knighthood from New Zealand's government in 2010.