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NZRL mourn death of legend

Published: 4:46PM Tuesday October 02, 2007 Source: ONE Sport

New Zealand rugby league has lost one of its greatest players with the death of Cyril Eastlake in Auckland last Sunday, aged 77.

Eastlake captained New Zealand at the 1954 World Cup and included 28 tests in his total of 79 appearances for the Kiwis.

That tally was surpassed by only the late Jock Butterfield (99), Tom Baxter (94) and Bill McLennan (84), who died in July this year. All three were New Zealand team-mates during Eastlake's career.

Capable of playing anywhere in the backline - although he preferred inside centre - Eastlake was also an accomplished goal-kicker. His total of 257 points in all matches for the Kiwis is topped by only Des White (467) and Jack Fagan (289).

Eastlake was an automatic inclusion in the first intake of inductees for New Zealand's 'Legends of League' in 1995, an acknowledgement of the skills he brought to the game during an international career that ran from 1951 to 1960.

Together with White, Baxter, McLennan, George Menzies, Frank Mulcare, Jimmy Haig and others he was a key contributor to the Kiwis' momentous 2-1 series win against the Kangaroos in Australia in 1952.