General Sir Colin Meads dies

bruce

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https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby...bituary-the-sturdiest-of-all-trees-has-fallen
Sir Colin Meads obituary: The sturdiest of all trees has fallen
The forest will fall silent after pancreatic cancer felled the most sturdy of trees.

All Black legend Colin "Pinetree' Meads died on Sunday at the age of 81 , a loss which will be mourned throughout the rugby-playing world.

Meads was the most famous of amateur era All Blacks, an icon who remained a highly popular figure here and abroad decades after his outstanding playing career ended.

He could play too hard, leading to dark moments in his career. In 1966 he punched British Lion David Watkins; in 1968 Australian halfback Ken Catchpole's career was effectively ended when he was torn from a ruck; in 1969 Welsh hooker Jeff Young suffered a broken jaw, courtesy of Meads.

His most infamous run-in with officialdom as a player was in 1967 when he was ordered from Murrayfield in the test against Scotland.

In his defence it must be said that Meads was also the victim on occasions.

During a test against France in Paris in 1967 a brutal kick to the head meant he had to play out the match with a huge bandage covering the wound.

In South Africa in 1970, his arm was broken with an aimed kick by an Eastern Transvaal forward.

Incredibly, he returned to play out the match with a huge bandage covering the wound. Later he appeared in the test series with his arm encased in a protective splint.

It was just another chapter in the incredible Meads legend.

There's no doubt he was one of the greatest rugby players ever seen.

Meads began a 19-season provincial career in 1955 and in the same year went on the New Zealand Colts' tour of Australia and Sri Lanka.

He made his All Blacks debut as a 20-year-old, playing both tests on the 1957 tour of Australia at flanker. In the second test, he scored the first of his seven test tries while deputising on the wing for the injured Frank McMullen.

He quickly became an indispensable part of a great forward pack, alongside players such as his brother Stan, Wilson Whineray, Kel Tremain, Ken Gray, Brian Lochore and Waka Nathan.

Former All Blacks coach the late Fred Allen once described Meads as an ideal tourist.

"Colin Meads' stupendously consistent form developed from his willingness to train yet it could never be said of Colin while he was on tour that he made training such a fetish that he was incapable of enjoying himself," Allen wrote.

"Those weekend enjoyment sessions of his became a famous part of New Zealand rugby - but once he had his fun, he resumed training as keenly as ever and kept his form as remarkably as ever."

He played his best rugby when locking the scrum with his brother Stan in 1965 against the Springboks and 1966 against the Lions. In the third test against France at Eden Park in 1968, he became the world's most capped international.

Meads was 35 when he captained the All Blacks against the Lions in 1971.

The home series loss was a sad ending to the international career of a man whose devotion to rugby and New Zealand was unparalleled.

Meads' motivation was simple: "I can remember saying I wanted to be not just an All Black but a good All Black."

When he broke his back in a motor accident in the late 1971 the nation was shocked.

Shock turned to awe when he returned to rugby the following winter, although he made himself unavailable for the All Blacks.

In 1973, Meads captained a President's 15 to victory over the All Blacks before retiring after a record 361 first-class matches. He continued to play for his Waitete club until 1975.

His status with New Zealanders was confirmed when his biography Colin Meads All Black sold a record 58,000 copies. An updated biography in 2002 also sold strongly.

Meads was never going to disappear from the rugby landscape.

He turned to administration and coaching at provincial level, and selected and coached North Island teams before being promoted on to the national selection panel in 1986.

The latter appointment was a brief one, though, because Meads decided to join the rebel Cavaliers tour of South Africa as coach. he was axed from the panel and for a time was persona non grata to the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).

In time he was forgiven and in 1992 he was elected on to the NZRU council and managed the All Blacks teams of 1994 and 1995.

He fell victim to an administrative revamp of the council in 1996 as professionalism pushed aside many links with the past.

Meads remained forthright in his opinions and was often sought out as a defender of the game's old values.

The public's fascination with Meads remained as insatiable as ever in his latter years.

He became front page news again in late 2007 when he sold his 102 hectare meat and wool farm so he and his wife Verna could move into town, all of 3.5km down the road to Te Kuiti.

He turned his hand to public speaking and advertising products on television, most famously tanalised fence posts, most infamously Provincial Finance.

When Provincial Finance failed, Meads was attacked as the public face of the company. He had described the company as "solid as, I'd say". He later said he regretted so many people lost money in the collapse.

"I wouldn't do it again because you're just a figurehead in the organisation and not involved in the day-to-day running of those sorts of things."

Meads received just about ever honour the game bestowed, including membership of the International Hall of Fame and the New Zealand Sporting Hall of Fame.

There was no debate in late 1999 when New Zealand Rugby Monthly magazine named him the New Zealand player of the century and in the 2001 New Year's Honours list he was made a New Zealand Companion of Merit.

In August 2016, it was announced that the rugby great had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Sir Colin's last major public appearance was in Te Kuiti in June, when a statue of the 81-year-old was unveiled on his hometown, a great occasion for one of the great rugby players.

- Stuff
 

bruce

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My endearing memory of Pinetree was in the 1965 test against the Springboks at Eden Park. He was playing with his brother Stan himself one of the best. There was a ruck and a blow up. One of the Meads went down. I knew something was going to happen. Next ruck one of the South Africans didn't get up, and they were genuine tough bastards as well.

Those were the days, no TV cameras, no feminism, no PC, tough men sorted things out on the field and left it there. Having said that Piney was involved in some incidents that would really raise eyebrows today.

Vale Pinetree
 

DavidMcKay1974

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Aug 28, 2013
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R.I.P Sir Colin Meads

A tough bastard if there was ever one.

He became the first All Black to reach 50 tests. A feat rare back in the day. Not like today where good rugby players make it to 100 tests. So rare back in those days with less tests than today.

One of the best ever All Blacks.
 
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Gizzyfan

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Jan 2, 2013
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This day had to come. but it is still a shock. I was coached by the 'Tree' at provincial level. He demanded hard work from his teams and the first training run of the season were always gut busters, the fittest played.

My abiding memory was playing Auckland one day. They had just beaten Sydney and the Auckland press said anything less than 60 points against us would be a failure. They arrived in this really flash bus, In the team talk he backed that up saying most of us wouldn't make an Auckland Premier club side. How many players Auckland had, how rich they were. Basically saying we didn't deserve to be on the same field. It went on and on. As players we got really pissed off. At the end, not long before kick off he looked at us and said, 'You know what though, they have all the players, all the money, and all the flash buses, but they can only put 15 of the bastards on the field. It is hard to convey but it simplified it. It didn't matter if they were All Blacks, we just got into them.

We didn't win, but we only just lost with about 30% possession. It was 18 all towards the end, I was (rightfully) penalised for offside and eventually lost by 6. It was the best game I ever played and in the best game I ever played in. As we went back into the shed after the game he was standing there stoney faced as usual. I said 'Sorry about that penalty', he put a hand on my shoulder and said 'You were worth more than 3 points today.' To this day I am proud of that.

The work that man did for IHC was incredible, nothing was too much. The old cliche good player but better human being applies. He was humble and loved a beer and banter. There was a race horse called Pinetree doing well at the time. At an after match the owners met Piney over a beer. One guy said that Colin probably thought it was called Pinetree because it was big, strong and fast, but really it was because it was a big, ugly dirty bastard just like him. Piney cracked up laughing.

We have lost a legend of NZ sport and a legendary human being, I have tears in my eyes as I type this which I don't mind admitting.

R.I.P. Colin Earl Meads
 

Sup42

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May 7, 2012
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This day had to come. but it is still a shock. I was coached by the 'Tree' at provincial level. He demanded hard work from his teams and the first training run of the season were always gut busters, the fittest played.

My abiding memory was playing Auckland one day. They had just beaten Sydney and the Auckland press said anything less than 60 points against us would be a failure. They arrived in this really flash bus, In the team talk he backed that up saying most of us wouldn't make an Auckland Premier club side. How many players Auckland had, how rich they were. Basically saying we didn't deserve to be on the same field. It went on and on. As players we got really pissed off. At the end, not long before kick off he looked at us and said, 'You know what though, they have all the players, all the money, and all the flash buses, but they can only put 15 of the bastards on the field. It is hard to convey but it simplified it. It didn't matter if they were All Blacks, we just got into them.

We didn't win, but we only just lost with about 30% possession. It was 18 all towards the end, I was (rightfully) penalised for offside and eventually lost by 6. It was the best game I ever played and in the best game I ever played in. As we went back into the shed after the game he was standing there stoney faced as usual. I said 'Sorry about that penalty', he put a hand on my shoulder and said 'You were worth more than 3 points today.' To this day I am proud of that.

The work that man did for IHC was incredible, nothing was too much. The old cliche good player but better human being applies. He was humble and loved a beer and banter. There was a race horse called Pinetree doing well at the time. At an after match the owners met Piney over a beer. One guy said that Colin probably thought it was called Pinetree because it was big, strong and fast, but really it was because it was a big, ugly dirty bastard just like him. Piney cracked up laughing.

We have lost a legend of NZ sport and a legendary human being, I have tears in my eyes as I type this which I don't mind admitting.

R.I.P. Colin Earl Meads
That's a good story and a great read.

Thanks for sharing that Gizzy
 
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bruce

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Sep 1, 2015
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This day had to come. but it is still a shock. I was coached by the 'Tree' at provincial level. He demanded hard work from his teams and the first training run of the season were always gut busters, the fittest played.

My abiding memory was playing Auckland one day. They had just beaten Sydney and the Auckland press said anything less than 60 points against us would be a failure. They arrived in this really flash bus, In the team talk he backed that up saying most of us wouldn't make an Auckland Premier club side. How many players Auckland had, how rich they were. Basically saying we didn't deserve to be on the same field. It went on and on. As players we got really pissed off. At the end, not long before kick off he looked at us and said, 'You know what though, they have all the players, all the money, and all the flash buses, but they can only put 15 of the bastards on the field. It is hard to convey but it simplified it. It didn't matter if they were All Blacks, we just got into them.

We didn't win, but we only just lost with about 30% possession. It was 18 all towards the end, I was (rightfully) penalised for offside and eventually lost by 6. It was the best game I ever played and in the best game I ever played in. As we went back into the shed after the game he was standing there stoney faced as usual. I said 'Sorry about that penalty', he put a hand on my shoulder and said 'You were worth more than 3 points today.' To this day I am proud of that.

The work that man did for IHC was incredible, nothing was too much. The old cliche good player but better human being applies. He was humble and loved a beer and banter. There was a race horse called Pinetree doing well at the time. At an after match the owners met Piney over a beer. One guy said that Colin probably thought it was called Pinetree because it was big, strong and fast, but really it was because it was a big, ugly dirty bastard just like him. Piney cracked up laughing.

We have lost a legend of NZ sport and a legendary human being, I have tears in my eyes as I type this which I don't mind admitting.

R.I.P. Colin Earl Meads

That was a great story Gizzyfan.

I have to ask you this.

Years ago when the Auckland DJ Kevin Black finally retired they had all his acquaintances tell stories, the Mad Butcher came on and told of the time Auckland went to Te Kuiti to play King Country. It might have been the same game because that didn't happen often. Somehow Kevin Black went along and got into the after match.

Black is a bit of a lip, quite funny if one is in the mood, but in the wrong company maybe not. Anyway somebody came running over to the Mad Butcher asking for help to get Black out of trouble. Apparently the locals, including Pinetree were getting really pissed off with this smart arsed jaffa.

Do you know anything about that?

I had to laugh at Phil Gifford's story about Sir Colin this morning.

It was that famous test against the French when the a French forward kicked him on the head and opened up a gash through to his skull. Not only did he continue playing but he found the guy who he thought had done it and punched him so hard he spread his nose all over his face.

After the game the frog came up to him and asked why Meads had hit him. Meads told him and the guys said but it wasn't me and he named the guy who did it!!

The other story I liked was about Willie John McBride. It was at Lansdowne Road. They didn't know each other but Meads was getting into McBride, as one does in that position. So McBride belted him and dropped him. It must have been a good whack because Meads stayed down. Wilson Whineray told Meads to get up and not to let McBride see had hurt him. The other Irish players got into McBride because they reckoned they were all for it now.

They ended up the closest of friends for life, nice story.

Oh the good old days.
 

Gizzyfan

Warriors 1st Grader
Jan 2, 2013
4,247
I don't remember it and I doubt whether Pinetree would get involved in such a thing. That aftermatch was held in a relatively small place but I was having a beer with the KC and Auckland guys so can't discount it. A couple of us left while things were going as we had to get back to Taumarunui for work the next day.

Benoit Dauga was the player he whacked and Alain Plantefol the guilty party. He said the toughest guy he ever faced was a Springbok, Martin Pelser. He dealt to 'Tree and Kel Tremain in the same game. It was funny he said he couldn't fight and if he whacked them and they were still standing he was in trouble. Didn't happen often.

The legends are amazing about him, some didn't bear scrutiny. I had my knee opened up one game, in the medical room the Doctor asked me if I wanted anaesthetic. The team manager said 'His Coach never had anaesthetic and neither does he.' I said give me the shot. The Manager pushed it for a while but I got the shot. Pinetree was in the background laughing his head off.

Afterwards we had a beer and I asked if it was true about him never getting the shot. He said 'only the first time,' I asked why he didn't say anything, he said something along the lines of he wanted to how dumb I was. He was funny, when I said I wouldn't mind a crack at 2nd 5, he said to play 2nd 5 for KC you get a crowbar accross the knee caps, if you blink you are Centre.
 
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bruce

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Sep 1, 2015
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Benoit Dauga was the player he whacked and Alain Plantefol the guilty party. He said the toughest guy he ever faced was a Springbok, Martin Pelser. He dealt to 'Tree and Kel Tremain in the same game. It was funny he said he couldn't fight and if he whacked them and they were still standing he was in trouble. Didn't happen often.

Thems were the days for sure.:D
 

Gizzyfan

Warriors 1st Grader
Jan 2, 2013
4,247
Thems were the days for sure.:D

My view is, and this applies to League as well, is that the added scrutiny brings cheap shots into play, it always has been the retaliating player gets pinged. Usually guys got belted for cheating. To me rucking and the occasional biff was far less dangerous than late hits and cleaning out. Let alone the excuses for leg trips.

One of the best pieces of refereeing I ever saw was a player being told he would be sent off if he got punched one more time.
 
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