Uttley was a central figure in the law change that allowed injury replacements. Playing a brutal encounter for New Zealand Universities against South Africa in 1965, Uttley, Williment and a young halfback named Chris Laidlaw were all forced from the field in the first half, Uttley with concussion, leaving the students to play a large chunk of the match with just 12 players. It would have been a farcical situation against a modest team, let alone the mighty Boks.
Olliver describes Uttley as a brave player whose tackling belied his slight frame, but it is what he says next that resonates – and not in a comforting way.
“He played with concussion on and off for five years by my reckoning,” Olliver says. “He had a huge amount of courage. He would go low on players to tackle and always seemed to be getting a knee or a hip to his head.
“Wolfey didn’t tackle to the same extent, but he got hurt a few times as well.
“Ian would get hurt on a Saturday and turn up to training pretty groggy the next week. The coach would say, ‘Are you all right to play this week?’ He’d just say, ‘Yeah, yeah’.
“It was really tragic how both of them changed [in the last few years].”