The Passing of Sir Colin Meads
of David Havili, Ngani Laumape and Vaea Fifita hovering in the background.
Bottom line was that the All Blacks of 2017 were a lot younger and a lot less experienced than the All Blacks of 2016.
“We have probably gone deeper than we wanted to,” said coach Steve Hansen. “But I guess that is one of the positives out of the negatives of injuries and people having tragedies in their lives and so forth. It is not doing us any harm. It makes you a bit uncomfortable when you are the coach, I guess, because you are not sure if they are ready. But the guys have done really well.
“Some have surprised us and some have just confirmed what we already knew. It has been good and we will get the rewards from it in 2019 when we go to the World Cup. We are building our depth but just as importantly, we are building the experiences both positive and negative. Those experiences make you stronger.” Those younger than 50 would say Richie McCaw. Those older than 50 would say Sir Colin Meads was the best All Black in history.
Pinetree, as he was universally known, was an enormous character. A genuine legend in every sense and a man who came to define the All Blacks.
A brilliant player, a tough but sensationally funny and approachable man, Meads passed away in September after a long fight against cancer. The tributes poured in from all over the world and the old video footage was dug out and the reminiscing was sensational – a real chance to see what an incredible rugby player he had been.