Andy's leadership credentials an All Black Captain coupled with his business acumen makes him a speaker with impeccable credentials. He has been described as the finest All Black Captain ever, with outstanding people management skills.
When talking about New Zealand rugby one normally associates the words "hooker" and "captain" with legends Sean Fitzpatrick and Andy Dalton. Fitzy had been given a tough act to follow, for his predecessor Andy Dalton had filled both roles with equal might.
A popular and technically accomplished player, Dalton steered his side through difficult waters in the early 1980s and helped lay the foundation for New Zealand's supremacy later on in the decade. He first appeared for the All Blacks on their harrowing tour of France in 1977 and overcame nerves to throw superbly in a hard fought win in the second test. Interestingly, he had become the first hooker to throw into the lineout for New Zealand. As the 1970s drew to a close, Dalton formed a front row partnership with Gary Knight and John Ashworth that would develop into the best in the world. The threesome became known as "The Geriatrics", and this nickname was later used as the title for their three-way autobiography published in 1986.
Andy's career temporarily lost momentum in 1980 when he was unavailable for the tour to Australia, but the following year would prove to be one of the most challenging of his career. When skipper Graham Mourie refused to play against the touring South Africans on moral grounds, Dalton was given the honour of leading his country. In a merciless series in which no quarter was asked or given, Andy lead from the front. The deciding test at Auckland was an all time classic, a ferocious contest set against a backdrop of protest and bad feeling. With flour bombs and other debris raining down on the field, the referee called Dalton and his opposite number Wynand Claasen over and offered them the chance to stop the match.
Legend has it that both men simply stood their ground and stared at each other with a combination of mutual fear and respect, neither wanting to be the one to "turn chicken". The game continued, and New Zealand won 25-22.
When Graham Mourie retired in 1982, Andy Dalton took up the captaincy role again on a long term basis and led his side to a heavy defeat of the British Lions the following year. Further successes followed against Australia, England and Argentina. In 1986 he travelled to South Africa with the Cavaliers, but a broken jaw meant that he could not return for that year's official series against Australia. Even though Dalton had not played for or captained the All Blacks since 1985, the selection committee decided that his years of experience were essential to a successful 1987 World Cup campaign and he was made skipper for the tournament.
However, sport, just like life, can be a cruel place. In a heartbreaking piece of bad luck, Andy injured his hamstring whilst leading a training session and was still unfit when the competition started. In response, David Kirk was handed the captain's armband, whilst the young Sean Fitzpatrick slotted in at hooker.
In the land of fairytales Dalton would have returned to lead the side in the final and gone on to lift the trophy instead of Kirk. In the real world though, All Black rugby has little room for sentimentality and Fitzpatrick's superb displays ruled out any possibility of his return to the side. In recognition of Dalton's off field contribution though, Kirk generously shared his moment of triumph with the veteran, without whom none of it may have been possible. Indeed, Andy was much more than just a hard man. He was a true thinker of the game, endlessly exploring ways in which team performance could be improved. For example, he advocated the view that a coach and captain share a more equal relationship and he also pressed for the kind of specialist coaching that are now common to all world class sides. In total he played 35 times for the All Blacks, and captained them to 15 wins out of 17 games between 1981 and 1985.
In a spectacular sporting career, Andy Dalton played 35 tests for New Zealand and captained the All Blacks in 1981 and from 1983 to 1987, leading them to victory against Australia, France, South Africa, British Lions and England. In 1984 he was announced New Zealand Rugby Player of the year.
His rugby career culminated in leading the All Blacks to victory in the inaugural World Cup, held in New Zealand in 1987.
Andy is well known for his ability to motivate a diverse group of people to set team goals and achieve them. His warm, relaxed style appeals to all audiences as he offers his "tried and tested' skills on motivation and team building, or shares his experiences as an entertaining after dinner speaker.
Since retiring as an All Black Andy has been involved in coaching Counties Rugby and developing a very successful business in the area of waste management and more recently President of the NZRFU. in March 1999 he was elected President of the New Zealand Rugby Union. One of the youngest to ever hold that position Andy's leadership credentials an All Black Captain coupled with his business acumen makes him a speaker with impeccable credentials. He has been described as the finest All Black Captain ever, with outstanding people management skills.
As an after dinner speaker, Andy's humour and thoughts on the present Rugby environment is worth hearing.
- Team Building