Crusaders hero Berryman dies

Former Crusaders and All Blacks centre Norm Berryman has died after suffering a heart attack.

The 42-year-old, who lived near Perth in Australia, suffered a cardiac arrest at his home and is survived by his wife and six children.

Berryman represented the Chiefs and Blues during the early stages of his career, but was most successful at the Crusaders, where he won three Vodacom Super Rugby titles between 1998 and 2000. He played just one Test for the All Blacks against the Springboks in 1998.

Crusaders coach and Berryman's former teammate, Todd Blackadder, says he was everything that was special about New Zealand rugby.

'I played a lot of rugby with him, he was one of those instinctive, gifted players. He was a bit uncoachable, like Nemani Nadolo is with us,' Blackdder said.

'I remember his huge infectious smile and one game we had at Lancaster Park, I think it was a tight game against the Sharks, when he scored two tries off the cuff and all you saw were the whites of his teeth as he interacted with the crowd. They loved him. He was a special man.

'When we were in Perth a few years ago we took his Crusaders plaque over and he talked to the team about his time with us. It was great to catch up with him. He made people want to watch rugby. Off the field he never seemed to have a care in the world.'

Photo: Ross Setford/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams