Sean played in 63 consecutive Test matches for the All Blacks and was one of the sport’s most inspirational captains.
After making his debut in June 1986, he took part in the inaugural World Cup in 1987 when he enjoyed one of his best-ever rugby moments as the All Blacks went on to win the final in Auckland against France.
Sean was appointed captain in 1992 and was in charge for 51 Test matches. In total he played in 121 international matches, including 92 Test matches, 74 of which were wins. Among the highlights, he guided the All Blacks to a series win over the touring British Lions in 1993 and also led them to a clean sweep in the first Tri-Nations tournament in 1996.
The crowning moment of his illustrious career came in 1996 when he inspirationally captained New Zealand to a memorable Test series triumph over South Africa - the first time the All Blacks had ever won a series on South African soil. He says he regards this as his greatest moment in rugby. He played his 92nd and last international on November 29, 1997.
His father Brian (BBJ) Fitzpatrick was an All Black between 1951 and 1954, so Sean was brought up in the All Black tradition. He always led by example and commanded utmost respect on the field of play. He was well built for a hooker, but he was remarkably mobile and extremely skilful in both tight and loose play. Possessing excellent handling skills. He ended his career with a total of 55 points in Test matches.
As the game of rugby developed in the early 1990s, with its increasing emphasis on fitness and the eventual advent of professionalism, Fitzpatrick was very much in the forefront. Widely regarded as one of the best players in his position of all time, his legendary strength and mobility saw him shape the prototype of the modern rugby hooker.
He was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit by the Governor General in 1997. At the end of 1999, Fitzpatrick was named as hooker in Rugby World magazine’s Team of the Century. In March 1999 Sean was appointed as Rugby Consultant to the NZRFU responsible for player development and liaison.
He is now a respected rugby analyst for TV and newspapers and is a member of the board of London club Harlequins. He became Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy in May 2016.