Olo Brown

Photo credit: Punakaiki Fund

Olo Max Brown

Apia, Samoa

Former Auckland Provincial Rugby, Super Rugby Auckland Blues and New Zealand All Blacks Rugby player.

Brown was known to be the cornerstone of the pack with his technique and straightness of back and was rated by scrummaging experts as one of the finest props to play for New Zealand at any time.

His provincial and test teammate, Sean Fitzpatrick, swore by his prowess and few scrums anchored by Brown were ever bettered. He was also a competent player capable of playing at hooker position.

Brown was an automatic selection under the watchful eye of All Blacks coaches Laurie Mains (1992-95) and John Hart (1996-98). He came into rugby despite being a chartered accountant outside of the game.

In 1989 Brown was first-choice for Auckland, ousting Peter Fatialofa in the process and alongside Sean Fitzpatrick and Steve McDowell, and then Craig Dowd. He was an integral part of the front-row which replicated their club form for the All Blacks.

He earned his debut for the national side in 1990 when he was summoned for a midweek match in France but he had to wait a further two years for his first Test cap which came against Ireland.

For the next six years the only break in Brown’s test sequence came at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa when he was rested for the romp against Japan. He achieved many distinctions, including the historic series win in South Africa in 1996 and as a mainstay of the Blues sides in the first three seasons of the Super 12.

In 1998 Brown’s long test career came to a sudden halt. He injured his neck and back in the tri-nations test in South Africa and was forced out of the season’s finale against Australia, being replaced by Kees Meeuws. Ironically, the afternoon he was forced to withdraw from the test against the Wallabies coincided with one of his few media conferences. Brown, a forlorn figure as he sat on the grass at Auckland University club, could not avoid the many journalists who had been at the training to learn first hand of his misfortune.

Brown never formally retired. But he never recovered from what had proven to be a grievous injury and was never seen again in action at any level. Brown had the distinction of becoming the first All Black prop to reach 50 tests and at the time of his premature departure from the game had 56 caps.

How much he was missed was underlined the following year at the World Cup when the All Blacks lack of experience and hardness up front were exposed. Brown retired from Rugby and taking up a career as a Lawyer.

  • First Samoan and All Blacks prop to reach 50 Tests in New Zealand All Blacks Rugby History

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