Sir Colin Meads 'one of NZ's rugby greats - but so much more'

Saul Bowman
August 21, 2017

Former New Zealand forward Colin Meads, named in 1999 as the All Blacks Player of the Century, has died.

"The Meads family has requested privacy at this time and they have asked media to respect this". We will miss him.

The nickname "Pinetree" was given to him by team-mate Ken Briscoe when he toured Japan in 1958 with the New Zealand Under-23 team.

With a reputation as an enforcer at a time - in the absence of video replays - when physical violence was more common in rugby, he became only the second All Blacks player to be sent off in a Test match, against Scotland in 1967, though he was considered unlucky in that instance.

"He was a man who was generous with his name and his fame, driven by a strong belief that people with intellectual disabilities deserved the best". In 1967 he became only the second All Black ordered off in a test for risky play against Scotland at Murrayfield.

If you average out all the games for the All Blacks and King Country it works out to about 15 first class games per season between 1955 and 1973 (the span of his King Country career).


Made his test debut against Australia in 1957 as a flanker, one of just eight tests when he did not play lock. He played in both tests (not in his preferred position of lock but as a flanker and No. 8).

Ended his global career following the 14-14 draw against the Lions at Eden Park, which gave the combined side a 2-1 series victory - their first and only series win over the All Blacks.

"Growing up in South Africa in the 1960s and '70s, I remember our terrified awe of Meads". He was dumped as a national selector as a result.

In 2006, New Zealand's amateur provincial competition was renamed as the Heartland Championship with the winners awarded the Meads Cup. In the Special Honours 2009, following the restoration of titular honours by the New Zealand government, Meads accepted redesignation as a Knight Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen, captain Kieran Read and former fly-half Dan Carter have paid tribute to Colin Meads following the All Blacks legend's death.

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