A feature of the Hurricanes front row from 1997-2002, Slater overcame a bad compound fracture of his leg playing for Taranaki against Bay of Plenty in 1995, which could have easily ended his career. But the average Taranaki farmer is made of stern stuff and Slater recovered to eventually play 55 games for the Hurricanes, including two seasons as captain in 2001 and 2002.
The younger brother of former Taranaki captain Andy Slater, Gordon was regarded as one of New Zealand’s finest props and was a particularly strong scrummager. He earned a call-up to the end of season All Black tour of the UK in 1997 and played in three tour games. Three years later he made his second All Blacks tour, playing in two tests against France and one against Italy.
His impressive New Zealand representative record included selection for New Zealand Schools 1988-1989, New Zealand U19 1990, New Zealand U21 1991-1992, New Zealand Divisional XV 1993, Development XV in 1994 and New Zealand A 1998-1999.
A veritable workhorse, in 2000 Slater didn’t miss a minute of first class rugby in 22 games. He also played for Taranaki against the British and Irish Lions in both 1993 and 2005.He bowed out of top rugby at the end of the 2005 season with 144 Taranaki caps and nearly 220 first class appearances.