Former Kiwis gathered at Sir Peter Leitch's luncheon supporting the Special Olympics at the Ellerslie Convention Centre in Auckland on Friday. Image | www.photosport.co.nz

FLASHBACK FRIDAY | Kiwis saluted

Former Kiwis were thick on the ground when Sir Peter Leitch organised a luncheon to salute them at the Ellersliie Convention Centre in Auckland on Friday.

The outstanding brothers Dane and Kurt Sorensen (Mount Wellington Warriors) long with former Kiwi captain Gary Freeman (Northcote Tigers) were the special guests of the day.

All three were interviewed as were current Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney and Kiwi and Vodafone Warriors captain Simon Mannering.

Sir Peter also used the event to honour the 1975 Kiwi World Cup squad and specifically the team fielded in the 27-0 win over France in Christchurch, the day Dane Sorensen made his Test debut.

Virtually every one of the 15 players in the Kiwi line-up for that match was on hand (see the photo above). Dane Sorensen was joined by the likes of John Whittaker, Phil Orchard, John O'Sullivan, Dennis Williams, Don Munro, Ken Stirling, John Greengrass, Tom Conroy, Tony Coll, Ray Baxendale, Murray Eade, Warren Collicoat and Lyndsay Proctor.

The 1975 World Cup was played on a home and away basis with matches in Australia and New Zealand first before switching to the northern hemisphere later in the year.

While Dane Sorensen made his Kiwi debut as a 19-year-old against France in June, younger brother Kurt was only 18 when he played his first international alongside his brother against Australia at Carlaw Park in September.

The Sorensens played together again in the Kiwis' final 1975 World Cup match against Wales in Swansea, a game forever remembered for the sickening sight of Welsh prop Jim Mills maliciously stomping on Greengrass' head after the Kiwi front rower had scored a late try.

Another 1975 World Cup Kiwi in attendance on Friday was Graeme West along with an impressive cast of New Zealand players through the ages from 1951-52 Kiwi Ray Cranch to Mannering. Apart from Stirling, West, Williams, Coll, Freeman, Kearney and Mannering other Kiwi captains present included Don Hammond, Dane O'Hara, Howie Tamati, Dean Bell, Hugh McGahan, Duane Mann, Richie Barnett, Stacey Jones and Ruben Wiki.  

Who can you pick out from the photo above?