Sir Colin Meads: Rugby Statesman

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Meads Cup Final - South Canterbury vs Wanganui
TIMARU, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 24: Sir Colin Meads holds the Meads Cup ahead of the Meads Cup Final match between South Canterbury and Wanganui at Alpine Energy Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Timaru, New Zealand. (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

From the Last Word on Rugby department.

The rugby world is in mourning, with the passing of a legend. A word that is fitting when it is spoken of Sir Colin Meads, the former-All Blacks captain. He passed away after a long battle with illness, and the great man will be remembered across the globe for his exploits on the field, and for his charisma and personality off of it.

Sir Colin Meads obituary (courtesy of AllBlacks.com tribute)

The Pinetree has fallen.

New Zealand’s rugby player of the 20th Century, Colin Meads has died, aged 81.

  • Colin Earl Meads, born June 3, 1936, Cambridge. Died 20 August 2017
  • Test matches 55, total All Blacks appearances 133, 11 Tests as captain.
  • Debut v New South Wales, Sydney, May 25, 1957 (All Black number 583)
  • Final game v British and Irish Lions, Auckland, August 14, 1971
  • NZR councillor 1992-96; NZ selector 1986; NZ manager 1994-95; NZR life member 2007; recipient of Steinlager Salver for outstanding service to rugby 1999
  • Inducted into International Rugby Hall of Fame 1997
  • Voted New Zealand Rugby ‘player of the 20th century’ in 1999
  • Knighted in 2009 (MBE, ZNZM).

Sir Colin Meads was more than the above. To many, he was a Rugby Statesman – on par with Sir Edmund Hillary. And to the majority, he was ‘a good bugger’ and a good human.

Outside of rugby; feared during his playing career but he was truly revered ever after. Sir Colin Meads was knighted in 2009, recognition of the impact he made both as a rugby player with the All Blacks, and as an icon of the game who contributed so much after his career.

This was through his work with the Intellectually Handicapped Children’s (IHC) organization, as well as the Crippled Children’s Society and the New Zealand Rugby Foundation, at a time when the game suffered a series of serious spinal injuries.

He is famed for his charisma and was an extremely popular speaker. Often bringing crowds in a room to rapture of applause and laughter. The ‘bigger than life’ character never forgot his true values, and would comment on the game right up to his last public engagement in June.

In Honor of a Rugby Legend; Rugby Statue in Place

Meads represented the King Country, and his years of devotion to the district were repaid in kind when an statue was erected in Te Kuiti. The small, Waitomo district town stopped on June 19 when Sir Colin and Lady Meads attended his final public event. The commemoration was attending by dignitaries and even the British and Irish Lions were represented–to pay homage to the great man.

Last Word on Rugby editor Mike Pulman visited the site himself, as have thousands of visitors to the rural heartland township. The small town is where Meads spent his life farming and working with local clubs, foundations and schools.

Now, after his sad passing, Te Kuiti can expect an influx of visitors who will pass through the Gallagher Meads Brothers Exhibition. It celebrates the life and rugby career of Sir Colin and his brother Stan; an All Black himself.

Sir Colin Meads: Rugby Statesman

The tributes will be flooding in, and below are a handful of the social media posts that represent a tiny example of the wealth of respect, which he was afforded.

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Sir Colin is survived by his wife Verna and their children Karen, Kelvin, Rhonda, Glynn and Shelley. They have 14 grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.

The public funeral of Sir Colin Meads will be held next Monday. Waitomo Mayor Brian Hanna told TVNZ a funeral would be held for ‘Pinetree’ Meads next Monday, at Te Kuiti’s Les Munro centre.

“That will be the final farewell – and we imagine it will be quite a big affair,” he said.

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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