Cooper and Mourie given TRFU life membership
Taranaki rugby greats Colin Cooper and Graham Mourie have been recognised for their outstanding contribution, service and dedication to rugby by receiving life membership of the Taranaki Rugby Football Union.
Both Cooper and Mourie were nominated at Wednesday night’s Annual General Meeting at the Clifton Rugby and Sports Club.
Taranaki Rugby Football Union Chairman Lindsay Thomson was delighted to receive the nominations for two men who showed commitment to, not only Taranaki rugby, but New Zealand rugby.
“Obviously both men were Taranaki centurions in their playing days, but it is what they have done since retiring that has set them apart. Colin has gone on to a distinguished coaching career at provincial, Super and national level, while Graham has coached at provincial and Super level and thereafter administered at the highest level, having been on the board of NZ Rugby from 2002 – 2013, as well as being on the board of World Rugby” Thomson said.
“Despite having reached these lofty heights both men have always remembered their roots in Taranaki”
Cooper began his playing days for Taranaki in 1979 as a 20-year-old ending up playing 101 matches for Taranaki. He was part of the Maori All Blacks in 1982 and 1983. He also played for the New Zealand Junior side in 1982.
However, it was through coaching that Cooper made his mark and began as an assistant coach with Taranaki in 1995, 1996 and 1998. From 1999-2002 he was the head coach of Taranaki before moving to the Hurricanes for a coaching stint between 2003 and 2010.
Cooper then moved back to Taranaki to coach the provincial side again and won the Ranfurly Shield on two occasions in 2011 and 2017 and coached Taranaki to a National Provincial title in 2014. In between his provincial coaching roles, the 59-year-old coached the New Zealand U21 side who won the World Cup in 2001, Junior All Blacks from 2005-2007 and Maori All Blacks from 2013-2017.
Currently Cooper is the head coach of the Chiefs Super Rugby side.
Born in Opunake, Mourie was one of the great All Black captains in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was first selected for the All Blacks in 1976 and captained the national side that toured South America. The following year, Mourie was selected again for the All Blacks and played against the British Lions and captained the side to France later that year, replacing Tane Norton as captain.
In 1978, Mourie captained the All Blacks on their historic Grand Slam tour of Britain and Ireland and ended his career captaining the side in their tours of Romaina and France. He played 61 matches (57 as captain) for the All Blacks and finished playing for the All Blacks in 1982.
Locally, Mourie started coaching Opunake in 1993 and was instrumental in the amalgamation of Opunake, Rahotu and Okato clubs to form Coastal Rugby Club. He then went onto be the first Coastal coach. Off the field he was heavily involved in the decision and implementation of Coastal persuing a farming venture as an alternative revenue stream, a model later adopted successfully by the TRFU.
Mourie then coached Wellington between 1997 and 1999 then coached the Hurricanes between 2000-2002. He was then elected to the board of New Zealand Rugby serving from 2002 to 2013, as well as being on the board of World Rugby during that time.
He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for service to rugby in the Queens Birthday Honours in 1981.
For more information, please contact;
CEO Taranaki Rugby Football Union
021 898 550