Few All Black forwards have had the imposing physique of Chris Jack, who at 2.02m and 115kg was one of the All Blacks first choice locks between 2001 and 2007.
In these seasons Chris was a major contributor to the successes of Canterbury at provincial level and to the Crusaders in Super Rugby. As a 20-year, after having impressed in national age group sides, he actually appeared for the Crusaders in the 1999 Super 12 before representing Canterbury.
In 2000 Chris had still not established himself as a first choice Canterbury player, but his potential was obvious and he was taken on the New Zealand A teams end of year tour of Europe. Chris’ greatest attributes were his lineout ability, scrummaging strength and considerable athleticism, a strong runner with ball in hand.
Chris had an outstanding season in 2001, making the All Blacks for the first time, scoring a try on debut against Argentina in Christchurch, and winning the Kelvin Tremain Memorial Trophy as the player of the year.
For the next few seasons, including the 2003 World Cup in Australia, there was not much argument that Jack was New Zealand’s premier lock. His final Test was in 2007 against France in the World Cup Final in Cardiff, he then departed for an overseas contract. He was only in his late 20s.
Chris was in the Canterbury side which won the NPC first division title in 2004, but All Black selection, reconditioning and injury meant his involvement at provincial level was limited.
He played in all only 45 provincial games, the last handful of which in 2006-07 were for the new Tasman union, to which he was transferred to avoid salary cap problems. He played 110 games for the Crusaders and his 67 tests placed him only behind Jones (79) as New Zealand’s most capped international lock.
Jacks elder brothers, Graham, also a lock, preceded him into Canterbury teams and Richard, a No. 8, was a Shirley Division One player for many years.