Saturday, September 19, 2009
NZ rugby boss, Jock Hobbs, battling leukemia...
New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Jock Hobbs is battling leukaemia.
The former All Black, 49, who is credited with bringing the Rugby World Cup 2011 to New Zealand, confirmed yesterday that he had cancer.
"Yes, I have been diagnosed with leukaemia but it's in a chronic form, not acute," he told The Dominion Post. "It's being monitored and I feel fine."
Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow and is characterised by a buildup of blood cells usually white cells. Though acute leukaemia requires immediate treatment, chronic forms are sometimes monitored and left untreated for a time to ensure the most effective therapy. The disease can take months or years to progress. Hobbs was diagnosed about four years ago.
He has attended some of the All Blacks' training sessions in past weeks and took part in one earlier this year.
A characteristically private man, he was an All Black flanker from 1983 to 1986, playing 21 tests, and became captain at 24, including on three overseas tours.
Hobbs studied law and, aged 23, was admitted to the bar. He was tipped to captain the 1987 World Cup team but was ruled out after too many concussions. He became a member of the NZRU council in 1995, was removed in 1996 and reinstated as chairman in 2002. He is also credited with saving the NZ game when rugby went professional in 1990's - but that is another story!
He is credited with persuading prime minister Helen Clark to fly to Dublin to pledge the Government's support for the 2011 World Cup bid.
In 2006 he was made a companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his work, but told The Dominion Post at the time: "In some ways I feel as though I've been singled out. I was just one of a number of people involved in the bid."
Hobbs is married to Nicky, sister of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.
They have four children and live in Wellington.