Counties Manukau Rugby icon Bruce Robertson passes away

Counties Manukau Rugby icon Bruce Robertson passes away

Legendary All Black and Counties Manukau Rugby icon Bruce Robertson passed away peacefully on Friday night at the age of 71.

Considered by many as the greatest centre in New Zealand Rugby history, Robertson was a giant of the game in the 1970s.

He played 34 tests for the All Blacks between 1972 and 1981 and 102 matches in total while he represented Counties on 135 occasions and helped lead the side to their sole National Provincial Championship triumph in 1979.

Renowned for his speed, silky skills and ability to beat defenders with his trademark swerve, Robertson was voted as the greatest player in the history of Counties Manukau Rugby by a panel of expert judges in 2020.

Robertson was born in the Hawke’s Bay and moved to the Counties Manukau area to train as a teacher at Ardmore College. A talented cricketer and athlete, Robertson’s rugby career took off upon moving north. 

After retiring in the early 1980s, Robertson continued to work in rugby with various coaching roles including Counties Manukau in 2002-03, NZ U21s, Northland, the Blues as well as Sri Lanka.

Current PIC Steelers player Jadin Kingi, grandson of Robertson, is a third generation player, with father Dion Kingi also playing for the Union.

“We are terribly sad to hear of the passing of one of Counties Manukau's greatest All Blacks, CMRFU CEO Aaron Lawton said. 

“Bruce was an iconic player and a true rugby servant. He leaves a lasting legacy at our Union and would have been incredibly proud to watch his grandson Jadin pull on the hoops last year. 

“We are working with his family now to confirm a service at Navigation Homes Stadium and will release details as soon as possible."

Robertson is survived by wife Nellie and was a father to Jackie and Dion, Natalie and Tom, Shannon and Joe, and a grandfather to Jadin, Mya, Niko, Siena, Zara, Taylor, Pippa, Asher and Charlize.

Bruce's whanau would like to acknowledge and thank everyone for their love and support at this time.