All Black great 'Pinetree' Meads dies

Lawrence Cooper
August 21, 2017

"He was no-nonsense, reliable, hardworking, warm and very generous with his time".

A bronze statue of the player, who received a knighthood in 2009, was unveiled earlier this year in his hometown of Te Kuiti.

New Zealand has lost not just a rugby great with the passing of Colin Meads, but also a cultural icon.

"A sad day for New Zealand rugby and for New Zealand".

But Maori broadcaster Willie Jackson credits Sir Colin with teaching him that Pakeha could play a valuable role in Maori institutions.

McCaw first met him in 2001 when he was awarded the "NPC division on player of the year" at the New Zealand Rugby Awards.

Sir Colin Meads will mainly be remembered for his deeds on the rugby field, but the body advocating for people with intellectual disabilities says he gave it as much of a shove as any scrummager could.

Former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick: " So sad to wake up to the news that Sir Colin has died.

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Meads played for the All Blacks from 1957 until 1971, racking up a then New Zealand record 55 tests and playing another 78 games for the team.

"He goes, aw crikey I don't think I'd last these days having to eat all that pasta and crap beforehand, that was just some of the sort of comments he would always make, he always said it with a bit of jest".

Immensely strong and physically fit due to his farm work, team-mates and opponents would describe him as "tough and uncompromising" and a legend built that he was all but immune to physical pain.

"He achieved legendary status even while still playing and his reputation for ferocious and fearless play was the epitome of what New Zealand rugby stands for in South Africa".

Meads is survived by wife Verna and their five children Karen, Kelvin, Rhonda, Glynn and Shelley, their 14 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper, cricket star Brendon McCullum and WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker also paid their respects.

Named in a New Zealand Colts side that toured Australia and Sri Lanka in 1955. He had such an influence on my life and many others.

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